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Residential Briefs

MBA Staff
FHA to Hold Feb. 15 Conference Call on HECM Changes
HUD said it would hold a conference call this Friday, Feb. 15 to discuss questions related to FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage consolidation policy content and implementation of these changes. 

The changes to the HECM problem are part of FHA’s recent announcement to strengthen its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The teleconference number is (800) 762-4758. The conference call will begin at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Fannie Mae: Consumer Housing Sentiment Continues to Rise as Employment Concerns Wane
Increasing confidence in home sales and an improved sense of job security provide further evidence of the strengthening of the housing market, Fannie Mae reported in its January National Housing Survey.

The percentage of survey respondents who think it is a good time to sell a home continued to climb to 23 percent last month from 11 percent the same time last year. While expectations regarding personal finances stayed relatively flat last month, other housing indicators remained at or near survey highs, indicating consumers remain confident in the stability of the housing market.

“The housing market continues to firm, with consumer home price expectations for both rental and ownership properties near the strongest levels that we’ve seen,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist with Fannie Mae. “Concerns about job loss are waning as payrolls are growing--a trend that may give potential homebuyers more confidence that they can meet the financial obligation of homeownership.”

At 41 percent, the share of those surveyed who believe home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased by 2 percentage points from December’s survey high, while the share who believe home prices will go down returned to the survey low of 10 percent. The percentage of those surveyed who think mortgage rates will go up decreased by 3 percentage points to 41 percent, while those who think they will go down dipped slightly to 7 percent. Twenty-three percent of respondents say it is a good time to sell a house, up by 12 percentage points year-over-year.

NFIB Small Business Index up 0.9%
The National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Index rose by 0.9 point to 88.9 in January, as broader economic and policy concerns continued to offset modest gains in current operating fundamentals. Plans to hire rose modestly to 3 percent.

“Small businesses remain inordinately concerned about future economic prospects,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. “The most pressing problems for small businesses are taxes and regulations.”

Fannie Mae Announces New HomePath for Short Sales Escalation Process
Fannie Mae introduced an expanded HomePath for Short Sales tool to resolve short sale challenges. The tool, a new short sale escalation process, is open to any real estate professional working on a short sale involving a Fannie Mae-owned loan. 

Once a case is escalated, Fannie Mae will directly engage with the agent or servicer to address challenges such as valuation disputes, delays by servicers or uncooperative subordinate lien holders. Agents can also use the new escalation process to receive a recommended list price from Fannie Mae prior to listing the property for sale.

Mortgage Builder Renames G/Serv Loan Servicing Software Platform
Mortgage Builder Software, Southfield, Mich., renamed its loan servicing software platform. The LSS platform G/Serv is now formally known as Colonnade.

Mortgage Builder acquired the loan servicing system last year from GCC, Mortgage Builder’s former parent company prior to spinning off 15 years ago. The new brand name follows Architect, Mortgage Builder’s newly released LOS; Blueprint, Architect’s electronic document management feature; and Surveyance, its originator portal and mobile device module. 

RES.NET Upgrades Agent Platform
RES.NET, Lake Forest, Calif., upgraded its Agent Portal. Upgrades to the platform, which can be leveraged for any transaction type, will include the ability for agents to order title and closing services.

RES.NET also developed its own e-signature technology and will also add a live chat feature.

Akcelerant, FirstClose Announce Partnership
Akcelerant, Malvern, Pa., a provider of hosted and on-premise services to the financial services industry, announced a partnership with FirstClose, Austin, Texas, an aggregator of mortgage settlement services.

The partnership will provide mutual customers the ability to order real estate services from nationally recognized vendors directly from the Akcelerant Framework.

ProVest Expands Compliance, Audit Departments, Enhances National Locations
ProVest, Tampa, Fla., expanded its compliance and audit departments and has ramped up staff as well as implemented additional training and review processes in its locations nationwide.

ProVest now has 15 locations nationwide.

RentRange: California Cities Dominate Top 10 Rental Price Markets in 2012
RentRange LLC, Westminster, Colo., said in 2012, average rental prices for single family residences in La Quinta, Calif., increased more than anywhere else in the country. The city, whose population is just under 38,000, saw average rents increase by $932 or 35.75 percent, from December to December.

Six other California cities are included in the Top 10 markets with the greatest rental price increases for single-family residences in 2012. Three, are in Riverside County’s Coachella Valley. Two are in San Diego County and one is in Orange County. The other three cities in the Top 10 markets with the greatest rental price increases for single-family homes are Harker Heights, Texas; Sarasota, Fla.; and Mableton, Ga.

Carrington Mortgage Services Launches Three-Day Turn Times on FHA, Conventional Purchase Loans
The Wholesale Lending Division of Carrington Mortgage Services LLC, Santa Ana, Calif., launched three-day turn times on FHA and conventional purchase loans, and is ready to close FHA Streamline refinance loans with no additional interest cost to the borrower regardless of when the loan is funded.

The company’s ongoing FHA Streamline Ready to Close program offers closings on eligible FHA Streamline refinance loans any day of the month, allowing borrowers to take advantage of possible lower rates and enabling brokers to be compensated quicker.

IndiSoft Provides RxOffice Platform to Foreclosure, Bankruptcy Law Firm
IndiSoft, Columbia, Md., announced that The McCann Law Group LLP, Jacksonville, Fla., a provider of consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney services, is now using its RxOffice platform to handle cases across the country, including foreclosures, loan modifications, litigation, deeds-in-lieu, evictions and audits.

The platform, primarily leveraged by companies in the financial and default services industries, delivers case management and compliance services. Several of the platform’s 15 modules, including RxOffice Foreclosure, RxOffice Bankruptcy and RxOffice Eviction and Litigation, allow law firms to mitigate cases.

Titan Risk Management Services Adds Mortgage Lending Service Provider Governance Program
Titan Risk Management Services, Denver, expanded its offerings to include development, management, monitoring and support services for Service Provider Governance initiatives.
TRMS offers four Service Provider Governance support services to its bank and non-bank customers. These services were developed to support lenders in protecting both their customers and their enterprise.