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It’s all coming up roses for mortgage software solution provider Ellie Mae (ELLI) right now, and the good times don’t appear to be ending any time soon, according to a new report from RBC Capital Markets.

The company reported record revenue in fourth quarter of 2014, with its net income rising 153% from the same period in 2013. The company’s fourth quarter performance completed a record year for Ellie Mae, in which the company posted record revenue of $161.5 million, up 26% from $128.5 million in 2013.

The company’s record year was also reflected in its stock performance, which saw Ellie Mae’s stock open 2014 at $26.77 and close 2014 at $40.32, an increase of more than 50%.

The company has ridden the wave of its strong 2014 into a roaring start for 2015, with Ellie Mae’s stock up more than 46% in 2015, trading at $58.80 as of 1:03 p.m. Eastern.

According to the new report from RBC, the stock is going to continue rising in 2015.

RBC is increasing its price target on Ellie Mae to $65 and categorized the company’s stock as “outperform,” citing better loan origination volume for Ellie Mae and other factors.

“Despite the stock's performance year-to-date, we remain positive on the shares given our view of positive revisions to numbers. While RESPA-TILA could create some seat growth headwinds in 2Q15 and mortgage volume growth is expected to slow in 3Q15, we believe estimates have upside,” RBC Capital Markets analysts Ross MacMillan and Matthew Hedberg said in the report.


Read more: Is Ellie Mae headed for another record year?

The Obama Administration announced the eight new Promise Zone communities in the country that now have a special tie with the government to work to improve the quality of life, and housing, in some of the country’s most vulnerable areas.   

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the following eight communities, including six cities, one rural area and one tribal community:

  • Camden, New Jersey
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Sacramento, California
  • St. Louis/St. Louis County, Missouri
  • Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota
  • South Carolina Low County

These eight special Promise Zones were selected from over 120 applications in 36 states, including Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

In order to be successful, applicants had to put together a clear description of how the Promise Zone designation would accelerate and strengthen the community’s own efforts at comprehensive community revitalization.

As a result, the fortunate communities will have priority access to federal investments, federal staff on the ground to help them and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage volunteers. VISTA was founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America.

“Promise Zones bring multiple federal agencies together with local leaders to breathe new life into underserved neighborhoods,”...

Read more: Obama: Here are 8 lucky communities chosen to build prosperity

Home Loan Servicing Solutions (HLSS) stock fell off a cliff Tuesday morning as the company moves one step closer to completing its sale to New Residential Investment (NRZ).

After closing Monday at $17.18 per share, HLSS is currently trading at $0.68 per share, a drop of more than 96%.

The dramatic fall in the company’s stock price was expected though, as the company announced last week that it plans a complete liquidation and dissolution and will issue a distribution of approximately $1.2 billion, or $16.613 per share, which was to be paid on April 27, 2015.

Under the terms of New Residential’s acquisition of HLSS, New Residential acquired “substantially all of (HLSS’) assets” and assumed “substantially all of the liabilities of HLSS," in exchange for a purchase price of approximately $1.2 billion, or $17.08 per HLSS share on 71 million HLSS shares.

Under the terms of the deal, New Residential paid a total purchase price of approximately $1.4 billion for HLSS, with adjustment for cash and repayment of HLSS’ debt. The purchase amount was comprised of approximately $1 billion of cash and 28.2 million newly issued shares of New Residential, the companies said in a previous release.

Upon the consummation of the proposed merger, holders of ordinary shares of the HLSS at the time of the merger will receive an aggregate of approximately $50 million or $0.704059 per share, and all shares of HLSS will automatically be canceled, hence the precipitous drop in HLSS’ stock.


Read more: Home Loan Servicing Solutions stock craters after investors get paid

The national rate of homeownership in the first quarter of 2015 hit the lowest it’s been since 1993, which continues an ongoing decline in the rate, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau announced today.

The homeownership rate of 63.7% was 1.1 percentage points lower than the first quarter 2014 rate of 64.8% and a 0.3 percentage point drop from the fourth quarter of 2014.

The homeownership rate is an important lagging indicator of demand, says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com, noting that nothing quite explains what happened in the housing boom and bust like the homeownership rate and the associated implications for demand and supply.

“At 63.7% we’re now back to Q1-1993 levels and actually 63.7 was the low point for 1993,” Smoke says.  “That level effectively means we have lost all of the gains from the Clinton-W Bush eras. At this level, we are essentially slightly lower than the average rate in the 1970s and 1980s as well.  You have to go all the way back to the 1960s to see a lower rate that stuck.

"But the rate itself is a lagging indicator because it reflects the percent of households that are owners. So I think this number now more underscores what we’ve been through versus where we are going,” Smoke says. “In terms of where we have been, the rate bears witness to the fact that we have record levels of renters now, and for this decade, essentially all net new households have been renters.”

Smoke notes that there is also a record numbers of owners...

Read more: Homeownership rate falls to lowest since 1993

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