The rate of annual home price appreciation rose again in May, offsetting the affordability gains from declining mortgage rates, according to CoreLogic.

May home prices increased nationally by 3.6% year-over-year and by 0.9% over a revised result for April; CoreLogic incorporates newly released public data and updates its findings each month.

CoreLogic HPI

Over the next 12 months, CoreLogic projects home prices will increase by 5.6% and by 0.8% on a shorter-term basis between May and June. June's single-family home values are expected to reach an all-time high.

Mortgages using alternative documentation like bank statements for underwriting performed stronger than expected, but uncertainty remains about their default rates in stressed environments, Fitch Ratings said.

Over the past two years, non-qualified mortgage volume shifted away from borrowers who did not fit the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit box or otherwise "just missed" QM treatment to predominantly alt-doc loans for both owner-occupied and investment properties.

Alt-doc growth

Dozens of loan officers at Freedom Mortgage intentionally submitted inaccurate borrower information that overstated the number of white applicants over a four-year period, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleged in a consent order.

The CFPB said Wednesday that the Mount Laurel, N.J., mortgage lender had agreed to pay a $1.75 million fine to settle allegations that it violated the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

The CFPB found that, when mortgage applicants called Freedom to apply for a home loan but did not provide their race or ethnicity, more than 80 different loan officers in seven different call centers selected “non-Hispanic white.”

“Certain loan officers were told by managers or other loan officers that, when applicants did not provide their race or ethnicity, they should select non-Hispanic white (regardless of whether that was accurate),” the CFPB said in the 22-page consent order. “This practice of selecting non-Hispanic white when a customer did not provide race and ethnicity over the phone was not limited to a specific location, loan officer, or time period.”

Mortgage and real estate professionals need to do a better job of educating consumers and themselves about the growing vulnerability to wire fraud schemes during the home buying process.

Most real estate professionals "know of the problem but they don't understand how it occurs and what to do to prevent it," said Rich Hopen, a real estate professional himself who was victimized when he sold his home. "Buyers and sellers are unaware of real estate wire fraud."

Even though there are wire fraud messages on email footers and even disclosures signed by buyers and sellers, the consumers are not getting the message and so the notices are not doing the job, Hopen added at the launch press conference of the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud.

Four real estate professionals could face up to 30 years in prison and hefty fines after being indicted on charges related to allegedly defrauding Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and multifamily lenders.

The 114-count superseding indictment alleges that three people associated with real estate investor Morgan Management — CEO Robert Morgan, Project Manager Todd Morgan and Director of Finance Michael Tremiti — along with loan brokerage Aurora Capital Advisors' owner Frank Giacobbe all engaged in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, among other things.