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HUD PMI Act Information
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Mortgage Market News

Plunging gas prices at the pump led consumer prices lower in November, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The November Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell by 0.3% when economists were looking for a decline of 0.1%. The -0.3% was the largest monthly drop in six years. The price of gas fell 6.6% in November, the most since 2008 with the current national average price for a regular gallon of gas at $2.50. On a year-over-year basis, CPI fell to 1.3% signaling that inflation pressures are subdued.
Big news out of Washington, D.C. today were headlines that the U.S. may be easing the embargo of Cuba that began in 1961. The U.S. will also look to open an embassy on the island of 13 million Cuban people. The news comes after Cuba released American citizen Alan Gross, who has been held in prison in Cuba for the last five years, as he was accused of espionage for trying to bring Internet services to Jewish communities in Cuba. However, Cuba would have to pay back $5 billion to the U.S. due to the illegal seizure of American businesses in the late 1950s.
On the lighter side, Toys "R" Us announced it will extend its operating hours for 39 straight hours from 6 a.m. Tuesday, December 23, through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Just last week, Kohl's said that it will keep its 1,100 stores open around the clock for five days leading up to Christmas. Retailers are pulling out all the stops to increase sales this season as they look to make the most out of holiday sales.
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Mortgage Market News

Hoping to broaden the pool of home buyers and boost the real estate market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are launching mortgage programs with down payments as low as 3%.
The move, targeting buyers with good credit but little cash, has drawn fire for encouraging the kind of risky lending that caused the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis. But Fannie and Freddie executives said the programs contain proper safeguards.
The loans, unveiled Monday, reverse a trend of tighter lending standards by the government-sponsored mortgage giants since their taxpayer-financed bailouts. The programs allow only fixed-rate loans on single-family homes used as a primary residence.
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Mortgage Market News

Private job creation in November declined from the October levels to the slowest pace in three months, but did manage 200+ gains in September, October and November. The ADP Private payroll report showed that 208,000 jobs were created last month, below the 225,000 expected and down from the 233,000 created in October, which was revised from 230,000. A robust jobs market usually leads to a more upbeat economy as Americans feel more secure about their own job situation, which could lead to an uptick in consumer spending.
The service sector of the U.S. economy received a shot in the arm today after the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reported that its service Index rose to its 3rd highest level in the history of the Index. The ISM Service Index rose to 59.3% in November, above the 57.5% expected and up from the 57.1% recorded in October. Readings above 50 signals expansion and it has grown 58 consecutive months. However, all was not rosy within the report. The employment component decreased by 2.9% to 56.7% and down from the October reading of 59.6%. Comments from the majority of respondents indicate that business conditions are on track for continued growth.
Declining gas prices had U.S. consumers lining up at auto dealerships in a big way in November, plus the prospect of $2 gas, increased spending, and the move to larger models made last month the best for auto sales in 11 years. U.S. auto sales rose by 4.6% in November from October with the annual selling rate at 17.2 million vehicles, the best for November since 2003. A Nissan Motor executive said that when gas prices drop below $3, sales increase. Cadillac Escalade sales were up 91% last month, Lincoln Navigator up 88%, while small, economy car sales declined.
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