Report: Florida allowed criminals to originate mortgages
Florida regulators allowed more than 10,000 people with criminal records to work in the mortgage industry between 2000 and 2007, the Miami Herald reported Sunday, in a series of stories that has led to calls for the state’s top mortgage regulator to resign. In an eight-month investigation, The Herald analyzed records including court files and background checks of more than 222,844 Florida mortgage professionals and concluded that regulators allowed thousands of ex-convicts to enter the business and commit nearly $85 million in mortgage fraud.

OFHEO: Home prices down 4.8% from year ago
U.S. home prices fell 0.3 percent from April to May on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to a monthly house-price index published by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. For the 12 months ending in May, U.S. prices fell 4.8 percent, OFHEO said, and are down 4.9 percent since their April 2007 peak. For the nine Census Divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from April to May ranged from -1.2 percent in the South Atlantic Division to 0.3 percent in the Pacific Division. The price increase was the first in the Pacific Division since March 2007.

"It is very hard to draw conclusions from a one-month number, especially in these uncertain times," but the numbers in the Pacific, East and West North Central Divisions
"may be good signs," said OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart in a press release.

The OFHEO monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It may understate price declines or appreciation because it excludes mortgages too big or too risky for purchase or guarantee by Fannie and Freddie.

Single-family building activity plunges 41.7% in California
Single-family housing production in California was down 41.7 percent year-over-year in June, the California Building Industry Association reported Tuesday. And the number of single-family building permits issued statewide has fallen 54.9 percent during the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year. A total of 3,954 single-family building permits were issued in California in June 2008, which is up 9.2 percent compared to May.

Total residential building permits — including single-family and multi-family — dropped 10.8 percent in June 2008 compared to May, dropped 34.1 percent from June 2007 to June 2008, and were down 43.9 percent during the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year.

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