The following is a roundup of real estate news items:

U.S. foreclosure rate rises, Nevada tops the list
Nevada continued its reign as the foreclosure leader in May, with a rate of one foreclosure filing for every 118 households, data provider RealtyTrac reported today. Nevada has led states in its rate of foreclosure for the past 17 months. Properties in that state had 9,009 foreclosure filings in May, up 24 percent compared to April and up 72 percent from May 2007.

Nationally, foreclosure filings were up 4.4 percent in May compared to the previous month, and up 48.3 percent compared to May 2007. There was one foreclosure filing for every 483 U.S. households in May. It was the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity, and the third straight month of month-to-month increases in foreclosure activity.

California had the highest volume of foreclosure filings, with filings reported on 71,930 properties. Florida was next with filings for 37,364 properties, and Arizona was third on the list with filings on 12,959 properties. California and Florida are home to nine of the 10 U.S. metro areas with the highest rate of foreclosure in May. Stockton, Calif., topped the list of metro areas, followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; and Merced, Calif.

Inflation fears push mortgage rates up
The Federal Reserve’s concerns about inflation helped push rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to an eight-month high during the week ending June 12, to an average of 6.32 percent with an average of 0.7 point, Freddie Mac reported in its weekly survey. That’s up from 6.09 percent a week ago, but lower than the 6.74 percent rate seen a year ago. The last time the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate was higher was the week ending Oct. 25, when the average rate was 6.33 percent.

"Mortgage rates jumped this week after a number of Federal Reserve (Fed) officials, most notably Chairman Bernanke and Vice Chair Kohn, expressed concern over a threat of inflation," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. "This led some market participants to believe that the Fed will raise rates more aggressively over the year than previously thought."

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week averaged 5.93 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 5.65 percent last week but down from 6.43 percent a year ago. The last time the 15-year rate was higher was the week ending Oct. 25, when it registered 5.99 percent. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.7 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, up from 5.51 percent a week ago and 6.37 percent a year ago. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.09 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from 5.06 percent last week and 5.75 percent a year ago.

Realtors, title insurers, agree on RESPA disclosure form
The National Association of Realtors, the American Land Title Association and the Center for Responsible Lending are in agreement that a new loan disclosure form proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development leaves room for improvement. HUD’s proposed good faith estimate, or GFE, could do a better job summarizing the costs and fees associated with a mortgage and settlement services, and explaining key loan terms and payment information, the groups said. The new GFE is part of HUD’s proposed update of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA.

"While we might have various concerns about other elements of the proposed RESPA rule, we have worked closely together on ways to improve consumer disclosures by enhancing the GFE," the groups said in a joint letter to HUD. "This joint effort has resulted in broad agreement between NAR, CRL and ALTA that a more summarized, more easily understandable GFE that highlights key loan terms and payment information is needed."

NAR and ALTA submitted a proposed summary GFE to HUD. CRL submitted its own proposed GFE because the group also wants to include a separate line showing yield spread premiums, which are rebates paid by lenders on higher-interest-rate loans. In addition to updating the GFE, HUD proposes providing incentives for loan originators to package settlement services with mortgages, which NAR and ALTA oppose. The public comment period on HUD’s RESPA reform proposal closed Thursday. A final rule could be issued later this year for implementation in 2009.

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