Here is what was at the top of the headlines for the mortgage industry this past week:

1. President Obama Speaks in Phoenix, Addressing the Future of Housing in America

On Wednesday, August 7th, President Barack Obama introduced policies that he feels will mend the wounds of the recovering housing crisis. Sharing his views on the future, President Obama’s oration summed up his plans to reform the nation’s housing system is to bring private capital back into the mortgage market. Right now, more than 80 percent of mortgages are backed by the U.S. government. While Obama wants the government to continue playing a role in the mortgage market, he doesn’t want to do it through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two secondary mortgage market leaders that have been in conservatorship for years and that, as housing rebounds, are now producing billions of dollars of profits for the U.S. Treasury.

The MBA made brief comments on President Obama’s speech, including the following statement:

“Of particular importance is the President’s insistence on transitioning the mortgage market toward a future state that will rely primarily on private capital, while at the same time ensuring sufficient liquidity and the availability of the affordable  30 year fixed rate mortgage, and mortgages that finance multifamily rental housing, in both good and bad times, through an appropriate use of a government guarantee.”

2. New Home Sales Rise 14 Percent

In the month of July, approximately 43,000 newly constructed homes were purchased, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said today.  MBA based its estimate on mortgage applications for new homes filed with mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country and gathered through its monthly Builder Application Survey (BAS)  Figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Conventional loans comprised 66.5 percent of the applications and FHA loans 17.7 percent.  There were also a significant number of applications for Veterans Administration (VA) loans (14.5 percent).  Less than 2 percent of  applications were for Rural Housing Service/USDA loans.

3. Core Logic: Home Prices Rising at Fastest Pace in 36 Years

Housing prices increased by what the Chief Economist for CoreLogic called “a remarkable 10 percent”   in the first six months of 2013, the company announced this morning.  Mark Fleming noted that the 10 percent year-to-date increase was the fastest pace for home price gains since 1977.

The June CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) which includes sales of distressed properties increased 1.9 percent from May, and was up 11.9 percent compared to June 2012.   The year-over-year change marked the 16th consecutive month that home prices had increased on an annual basis.

When distressed sales are excluded, the year-over-year increase was 11 percent and the change from May to June was 1.8 percent.  Distressed sales include short sales and sales of bank-owned properties (REO).

There were no states where prices excluding distressed sales were down.  The biggest gainers were: Nevada (+23.6 percent), California (+18.7 percent), Arizona (+14.1 percent), Utah (+13.8 percent) and Florida (+12.7 percent)

Of the top 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) measured by population, 99 were showing year-over-year increases in June, up from 98 in May 2013.