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5 signs real estate recovery is near

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Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series. David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, is bullish on homeownership. Stevens -- a former Long & Foster Cos. executive who stepped down as head the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in March -- thinks there's sunshine on the horizon and it may be here sooner than anyone realizes.A few days ago I had a chance to interview Stevens about his take on where we are in terms of a real estate recovery. I also asked if he had any good news he could share in light of the constant onslaught of bad economic news. Here's what he had to say. 1. Markets are stabilizing According to Stevens, the real delinquency rate is down from 10 percent in the second of quarter of 2010 to 8.5 percent in the second quarter of 2011. New foreclosure starts are also down. In addition, three of the hardest-hit states for foreclosures -- Florida, Nevada and Arizona -- are also stabilizing. Furthermore, for stand...