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Three Indicted in Warranty-Deed Fraud Conspiracy
A federal grand jury has indicted Laura R. Johnson, 44, Thomas Johnson, Sr., 51, and Cheryl M. Ashley, 69, all of Oklahoma City, for conspiracy, fraud, identity theft, and other crimes, based on allegations that they used fraudulent legal documents to take ownership of more than a dozen homes without the consent or knowledge of the actual owners, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.
Ex-Fannie Mae Employee Gets Over 6 Years in Prison for Bribery Scheme with Millions of Dollars in Corrupt Commissions and Sales
A former Fannie Mae employee was sentenced today to 76 months in federal prison for a multimillion-dollar scheme to take bribes and to discount sales of Fannie Mae-owned properties to herself and to real estate brokers in exchange for cash kickbacks.
Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications increased 30.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 10, 2020. Last week's results included an adjustment for the New Year's Day holiday.
Housing Starts Finish 2019 Strong
Total housing starts increased 16.9 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.61 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department. This is a 13-year high for housing starts.
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December New Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Increased 38.7 Percent
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for December 2019 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 38.7 percent compared to December 2018. Compared to November 2019, applications decreased by 5 percent.
Builder Confidence Begins Year Strong as Single-Family Growth Continues
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes edged one point lower to 75 in January, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The last two monthly readings mark the highest sentiment levels since July of 1999.
Stewart Title President Matthew Morris Announces His Departure
Stewart Information Services Corporation announced today that Matthew Morris, President and former Chief Executive Officer, announced his departure effective Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.
Notarize and Stewart Title Announce Partnership to Bring Hybrid and Fully Online Closings to Thousands of Agents
Notarize, the most trusted platform for legal online notarization and the first company to enable an entirely online real estate closing process today announced a partnership with Stewart Title, a family of companies offering global title, settlement and escrow services, that will give its direct offices and independent agents the ability to offer fully online and hybrid closings powered by Notarize.
Waning Affordability Contributes to Slower Job Growth
Metro areas where affordability has worsened over the last five years have seen a decline in job growth during that same period.
ALTA Honors Texas Member with National Title Professional Recognition
John C. Martin CAEP, CTIP, NTP has earned his National Title Professional(NTP) designation from theAmerican Land Title Association(ALTA), the national trade association of the land title insurance industry.
Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud Announces RynohLive as New Partner
The Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraudhas announced that RynohLivehas joined as the Coalition’s latest partner in the battle against mortgage closing scams and real estate wire fraud. Founded by theAmerican Land Title Association, the Coalition provides education about the growing threat of these scams and offers tips to help consumers protect their money during the homebuying process.
Realtors® Announce Partnership with Census Bureau in Promotion of 2020 Census
The United States Census Bureau has designated the National Association of Realtors® as a National Partner for the upcoming 2020 Census. With the Bureau seeking to enlist the support of various national organizations, NAR is asking the 1.4 million Realtors® nationwide to help drive Census participation in their respective communities.
Florida Title Agents Can Now Earn CE Credits Using Mobile App Via Real Estate Law Series
Florida title agents and attorneys can now earn continuing education credits through Real Estate Law Series (RELS) via the free mobile learning app Moodle.
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UBS: Fed may cut rate three times in 2020
Conventional wisdom says the Federal Reserve won't cut rates during an election year, to avoid looking like it's favoring one candidate over another - unless there's an economic shock so severe, it's forced to act. However, we don't live in conventional times.

Fewer U.S. homeowners moved in 2019 than ever before
What do Americans do when so few new homes are being built? Remodel, according to the latest report for Buildfax. According to the housing data and analytics company, 2019 marked the lowest rate of mobility in the U.S. since the metric was first tracked in 1947. Only 9.8% of Americans moved last year. Though this marks a new low, it's not terribly far off from the only 10.1% who moved between 2017 and 2018.

How talk of war, recessions and elections could affect mortgage rates in 2020
In these turbulent times with threats of war and recession as well as looming elections, many have speculated as to what headline risks would negatively impact the overall economy, thus affecting mortgage rates.

U.S Mortgage Rates Inch Up as Applications Surge
Mortgage rates found support in the week ending 16th January, rising by 1 basis point to 3.65%. In the week ending 9th January, mortgage rates had fallen by 8 basis points to 3.64%. In spite of the weekly increase, mortgage rates remained close to 14-week lows. 30-year rates also continued to hold close to levels last seen in early November of 2016, according to figures released by Freddie Mac.

Graham Backs a Bill Friendly to Real-Estate Industry
The Republican from South Carolina, a close ally and golf partner of President Trump, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is a co-sponsor of a bill that would ease some new restrictions on the program, known as EB-5, which governs visas that grant permanent U.S. residence to foreigners who invest in qualifying real-estate projects and other businesses that create jobs in the U.S.

CANADA: Ontario's house-poor homeowners could be tempted by fraud and real estate lawyers are on high alert
LawPRO is warning lawyers to be on the lookout for "fraud for shelter," with "housing prices on the rise, more rigorous mortgage rules, and the resulting difficulty for some Ontarians to purchase property."

FCT joins Canada's leading digital identity service Verified.Me®
SecureKey Technologies Inc., a provider of federated identity and authentication solutions, announced today that FCT, the national leader in title insurance and real estate technology, has joined the Verified.Me network to help lending professionals complete identity validation for borrowers in a quick and secure way.

She bought a home for $1 on a road that might not exist. She hopes you learn from her story.
Riddick won the chance to buy a house for $1 through the HUD Dollar Homes program, an initiative designed to help first-time homebuyers and stabilize neighborhoods. But the key that should have unlocked a future of stability for Riddick instead has left her feeling trapped. That's because her Northside home sits on a section of Vandalia Avenue that is privately owned, and the owner argues it isn't a street at all.

Safeguarding the Reverse Mortgage Business in the Cyber Security Age
In the wake of numerous, high-profile cyber security breaches that have afflicted some of the world's largest technology companies, it's incumbent upon financial professionals in particular - even in the reverse mortgage industry specifically - to be aware of cyber security threats and how to protect against attacks that can affect clients, business and employees.

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