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Pending Home Sales Increased 2.5% in December, Ending Six-Month Slide
Pending home sales increased in December for the first time since May 2022 — following six consecutive months of declines — according to the National Association of Realtors®. The Northeast and Midwest recorded month-over-month reductions, while the South and West posted monthly gains. All four U.S. regions saw year-over-year decreases in transactions, with the West experiencing the largest decline at 37.5%.
New Home Sales Inch Higher in December but Market Weakness Remains
“Builder incentives and declining mortgage rates during the month of December helped push new home sales up for the month,” said Jerry Konter, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Savannah, Ga. “However, because of higher construction costs and decreasing affordability, sales are down more than 25% compared to a year ago.”
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NAR Statement on White House Tenant-Centered Action Plan
“Rents are rising, driven by inflation and exacerbated by the housing supply shortage. We encourage the Administration to look more deeply at how it can address the root causes of rental affordability—namely, affordable housing supply."
Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications increased 7.0 percent from one week earlier,according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 20, 2023.
CertifID Partners with Federal Law Enforcement to Issue a Security Advisory on Vacant Property Fraud
“Unfortunately, it’s just the latest evolution of wire fraud that affects title companies, law firms, lenders, realtors, and home buyers and sellers. Our company has received hundreds of cases and helped recover over $52M for victims in the last two years alone, by partnering with the US Secret Service.”
Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Remains Flat at 0.70% in December
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) monthly Loan Monitoring Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance remained flat relative to the prior month at 0.70% as of December 31, 2022. According to MBA’s estimate, 350,000 homeowners are in forbearance plans.
Guaranteed Rate to Expedite Rollout of Special Purpose Credit Program
Guaranteed Rate, a cutting-edge mortgage lender driven to be the nation’s top Fintech company announces the roll out and management of the company’s Special Purpose Credit Program. This new initiative aims to make homeownership more accessible by providing up to $8,000 in assistance to underserved potential homebuyers.
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Half of Q4 2022 transactions had wire and title fraud risks
According to a Q4 analysis by MISMO-certified wire fraud prevention fintech FundingShield, 50.5% of transactions had issues leading to wire and title fraud risk. Additionally, 5.25% of transactions were not registered or valid in title insurer systems at the time of closing. "Wire and title fraud reached another new record in the fourth quarter of 2022," FundingShield CEO Ike Suri said. "With this all-time high percentage of issues, the impact of a single wire or title fraud event could be catastrophic."

Buying a home is now more affordable than renting in these five cities
Even as rents continue to climb across the country, renting is still cheaper than monthly payments for a purchased home in 45 of the 50 largest US cities in December, according to a report from Renting costs nearly $800 less per month than buying, on average. But there are five cities where, despite stubbornly high prices, rising mortgage rates and some of the least affordable home buying conditions in decades, it is still cheaper to buy than to rent.

Real estate agents say they can't imagine working without ChatGPT now
In less than two months, ChatGPT has sparked discussions around its potential to disrupt various industries, from publishing to law. But it's already having a tangible impact on how a number of real estate agents around the country do their jobs - where much of the written work can be formulaic and time consuming - to the extent that some can no longer imagine working without it.

Texas Prepares to Tweak Home Equity Law Again
Under current Texas law, a home equity loan must be "closed only at the office of the lender, an attorney at law, or a title company." This has proved to be a considerable obstacle for borrowers who are "homebound" or in quarantine, out of state, working overseas, or deployed in the armed forces.

I Know That Brand . . . Or Do I? Reviewing the Eleventh Circuit's Likelihood of Confusion Analysis
FCOA is an insurance company that has been selling and marketing insurance policies using FOREMOST marks since 1952. Foremost is a shell company selling title insurance on behalf of a law firm. Both parties operate in Florida. Seven months after Foremost started using its FOREMOST mark, FCOA sent Foremost a cease-and-desist letter.

CANADA: How organized crime has mortgaged or sold at least 30 GTA homes without owners' knowledge
CBC Toronto has learned that a handful of organized crime groups are behind these real-estate frauds - in which at least 30 homes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have either been sold or mortgaged without the real owners' knowledge. Those revelations come from a private investigation firm working for a title insurance company to try and get to the bottom of the scams, which are costing insurers millions in claims.

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