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Pending Home Sales Show Healthy Gain

Anna Maria Northshore Home with Beautiful Gulf View

Anna Maria Northshore Home with Beautiful Gulf View

WASHINGTON – April 05, 2010 – Pending home sales rose in February, potentially signaling a second surge of home sales in response to the homebuyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) (http://www.realtor.org/research/research/phsdata), a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 8.2 percent to 97.6 from a downwardly revised 90.2 in January. The Index is 17.3 percent above February 2009 when it was 83.2. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the improvement is another hopeful sign. “The rise in buyer contact activity may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. The healthy gain hints home prices are continuing to flatten,” he says. “We need a second surge to meaningfully draw down inventory and definitively stabilize home values.”

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 9.0 percent to 77.7 in February and is 18.9 percent higher than February 2009. In the Midwest, the index jumped 21.8 percent to 97.9 and is 18.7 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South increased 9.2 percent to an index of 107.0, and the index is 17.5 percent higher than February 2009. In the West, the index fell 4.8 percent to 98.0 but is 14.6 percent above a year ago.

“Anecdotally, we’re hearing about a rise of activity in recent weeks with ongoing reports of multiple offers in more markets, so the March data could demonstrate additional improvement from buyers responding to the tax credit,” Yun says.

© 2010 Florida Realtors®

Pending home sales show healthy gain, hint at spring surge
WASHINGTON – April 05, 2010 – Pending home sales rose in February, potentially signaling a second surge of home sales in response to the homebuyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) (http://www.realtor.org/research/research/phsdata), a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 8.2 percent to 97.6 from a downwardly revised 90.2 in January. The Index is 17.3 percent above February 2009 when it was 83.2. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the improvement is another hopeful sign. “The rise in buyer contact activity may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. The healthy gain hints home prices are continuing to flatten,” he says. “We need a second surge to meaningfully draw down inventory and definitively stabilize home values.”
The PHSI in the Northeast rose 9.0 percent to 77.7 in February and is 18.9 percent higher than February 2009. In the Midwest, the index jumped 21.8 percent to 97.9 and is 18.7 percent above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South increased 9.2 percent to an index of 107.0, and the index is 17.5 percent higher than February 2009. In the West, the index fell 4.8 percent to 98.0 but is 14.6 percent above a year ago.
“Anecdotally, we’re hearing about a rise of activity in recent weeks with ongoing reports of multiple offers in more markets, so the March data could demonstrate additional improvement from buyers responding to the tax credit,” Yun says.
© 2010 Florida Realtors®

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Is Now The Time To Buy?

By Beth Braverman, staff reporter – Money Magazine
March 2, 2010: 10:30 AM ET

If you’ve been holding off on a real estate purchase, glimmers of a turnaround in the housing market may have you wondering if it’s finally time to make your move.

Is Opportunity Knocking?

Is Opportunity Knocking?

While home prices remain low, they’re no longer free-falling in most markets. Mortgages are historically cheap. And the sweet tax credit that was offered to new buyers last year has been extended to April 30 and expanded to include current homeowners too.

Besides the loss of the tax credit, the biggest game-changer facing buyers is a potential jump in mortgage rates.

If the Fed moves ahead with its plan to stop buying mortgage-backed securities at the end of March, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is expected to increase nearly a percentage point from today’s 5.18% to 6.1% by the end of 2010, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

On a $300,000 fixed-rate mortgage, that’s an extra $174 per month.

Read More

(Money Magazine) — If you’ve been holding off on a real estate purchase, glimmers of a turnaround in the housing market may have you wondering if it’s finally time to make your move.
While home prices remain low, they’re no longer free-falling in most markets. Mortgages are historically cheap. And the sweet tax credit that was offered to new buyers last year has been extended to April 30 and expanded to include current homeowners too.

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Florida’s Existing Home Sales Increase for 17th Straight Month

ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 26, 2010 – Florida’s existing home sales rose in January, marking 17 months that sales activity has increased in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Existing home sales increased 24 percent last month with a total of 10,465 homes sold statewide compared to 8,444 homes sold in January 2009, according to Florida Realtors. January’s statewide sales of existing condos rose 81 percent compared to the previous year’s sales figure.

Existing Home Sales Up 24%

Existing Home Sales Up 24%

Sixteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing home sales in January; all MSAs had higher condo sales. A majority of the state’s MSAs have reported increased sales for 19 consecutive months.

“Now is the time for anyone thinking of buying a home in Florida to make that decision,” said 2010 Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis, a broker and regional vice president with Watson Realty Corp. in Jacksonville. “Markets across the state are seeing increased sales, yet conditions remain very favorable with still-low mortgage rates, a range of housing inventory and attractive prices.

[Read more]


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Island Tourism Surges in January

Always a Popular Spot - The Rod and Reel Pier in Anna Maria

Always a Popular Spot - The Rod and Reel Pier in Anna Maria

By Rick Catlin
Islander Reporter

Anna Maria Island tourism climbed more than 15 percent in January, compared with the same month in 2009.

Occupancy of Island accommodations for January 2010 hit 51 percent, compared with 44.2 percent in January 2009, a 15.4 percent jump, according to the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s latest report.

That marked the fifth straight month that occupancy of Island accommodation units increased from the same month the previous year.

Occupancy of all units in the BACVB area for January 2010, however, was down slightly. Overall occupancy was reported at 53.6 percent against 54.3 percent for January 2009.

Complete Story

By Rick Catlin
Islander Reporter
Anna Maria Island tourism climbed more than 15 percent in January, compared with the same month in 2009.
Occupancy of Island accommodations for January 2010 hit 51 percent, compared with 44.2 percent in January 2009, a 15.4 percent jump, according to the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s latest report.
That marked the fifth straight month that occupancy of Island accommodation units increased from the same month the previous year.
Occupancy of all units in the BACVB area for January 2010, however, was down slightly. Overall occupancy was reported at 53.6 percent against 54.3 percent for January 2009.

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Manatee County Home Sales Up 43%

By Louise Bolger – Sun Staff Writer – February 3, 2010

Contrary to what is happening in the rest of the country,  South Florida real estate is making a major comeback.

sales increase art

Manatee County Single-Family Home Sales

Manatee County real estate companies sold 43 percent more single family homes in December of 2009 than December of 2008 according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

You can’t even credit the first time buyer tax credit for the increase since the original expiration date was Nov. 30, and it was not extended until early November which was too late for sales that were set to close in December and January.

In addition, median sales prices also went up by about 5 percent to $167,400, with most of the sales activity under $200,000.

Complete Story

Contrary to what is happening in the rest of the country, South Florida real estate is making a major comeback. Manatee County real estate companies sold 43 percent more single family homes in December of 2009 than December of 2008 according to the Florida Association of Realtors. You can’t even credit the first time buyer tax credit for the increase since the original expiration date was Nov. 30, and it was not extended until early November which was too late for sales that were set to close in December and January.
In addition, median sales prices also went up by about 5 percent to $167,400, with most of the sales activity under $200,000.

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Housing News Sends Stocks Higher

By Steve Shaeffer – Forbes.com – February 2, 20010, 12:45 PM EST

Aside from some wobbles around the opening bell, Wall Street rallied Tuesday to extend Monday’s gains.

The biggest news came out of the housing space, where a key indicator for home sales offered an encouraging sign and a builder posted its first profit in nearly three years.

The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index, which measures signed contracts and is considered a strong predictor of sales in coming months, inched up 1% in December to 96.6.

Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that while the home-buyer tax credit has produced some swings in contract activity, the underlying trend over the past year has been one of improvement, a view reinforced by fourth-quarter results from D.R. Horton ( DHI – news – people ).

Shares of the home builder jumped 10.9% after it reported its first quarterly profit since 2007. (See “D.R. Horton Builds A Profit.”) D.R. Horton said new orders and completed sales increased significantly in the quarter.

Complete Story

Aside from some wobbles around the opening bell, Wall Street rallied Tuesday to extend Monday’s gains. The biggest news came out of the housing space, where a key indicator for home sales offered an encouraging sign and a builder posted its first profit in nearly three years.
The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index, which measures signed contracts and is considered a strong predictor of sales in coming months, inched up 1% in December to 96.6. Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that while the home-buyer tax credit has produced some swings in contract activity, the underlying trend over the past year has been one of improvement, a view reinforced by fourth-quarter results from D.R. Horton ( DHI – news – people ).

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It’s Not If Interest Rates Will Rise But When

There may never be a better time to buy property than right now.  The home-buyers tax incentive expires at the end of April.  Real estate prices are low due to excess inventory and many economists are predicting interest rate hikes in the coming weeks and months.
_________________________________________________________________________________

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Feb. 1, 2010 – According to Dr. Mark Dotzour, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, mortgage interest rates are low right now but don’t expect that to last. When the government quits buying mortgage-backed securities, rates will head up and away.

increasing interest rates

Future Interest Rates

Dotzour says that mortgage rates were low at the end of 2009 because “the global consensus among bondholders appeared to be that inflation will remain low in the United States for an extended period. This caused the ten-year U.S. Treasury rate to fall to between 3.2 and 3.6 percent for much of the second half of 2009.”

With extraordinary levels of federal deficit spending, Dotzour says it is unlikely that the low-inflation scenario will be popular when the economy starts to rebound. Consumers should expect mortgage rates to rise when signs of improvement appear.

A second factor contributing to the low mortgage rates is the Federal Reserve Bank’s unprecedented purchase of nearly all the mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2009, he adds. Totaling more than $1 trillion for the year, this program has been extended through the end of March 2010.

“The Fed has never done this before in its history,” says Dotzour. “They are doing this to stimulate the economy by keeping mortgage rates as low as possible. When the Fed stops buying these securities from Fannie and Freddie, mortgage rates are likely to increase, and possibly quite abruptly.”

How far will rates go up when the Fed terminates its buying program? Dotzour says that question is difficult to answer precisely because this has never been done before; but many experts think that rates could move up one-half to 1 percent.

“The combination of extraordinarily low mortgage rates and current price levels are making homes extremely affordable to American families. In fact, national and Texas housing affordability indices indicate that homes are more affordable than ever. But this will not last. When the economy recovers and the Fed stops purchasing mortgages, rates will rise.”

It’s not if interest rates will rise but when
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Feb. 1, 2010 – According to Dr. Mark Dotzour, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, mortgage interest rates are low right now but don’t expect that to last. When the government quits buying mortgage-backed securities, rates will head up and away.
Dotzour says that mortgage rates were low at the end of 2009 because “the global consensus among bondholders appeared to be that inflation will remain low in the United States for an extended period. This caused the ten-year U.S. Treasury rate to fall to between 3.2 and 3.6 percent for much of the second half of 2009.”
With extraordinary levels of federal deficit spending, Dotzour says it is unlikely that the low-inflation scenario will be popular when the economy starts to rebound. Consumers should expect mortgage rates to rise when signs of improvement appear.
A second factor contributing to the low mortgage rates is the Federal Reserve Bank’s unprecedented purchase of nearly all the mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2009, he adds. Totaling more than $1 trillion for the year, this program has been extended through the end of March 2010.
“The Fed has never done this before in its history,” says Dotzour. “They are doing this to stimulate the economy by keeping mortgage rates as low as possible. When the Fed stops buying these securities from Fannie and Freddie, mortgage rates are likely to increase, and possibly quite abruptly.”
How far will rates go up when the Fed terminates its buying program? Dotzour says that question is difficult to answer precisely because this has never been done before; but many experts think that rates could move up one-half to 1 percent.
“The combination of extraordinarily low mortgage rates and current price levels are making homes extremely affordable to American families. In fact, national and Texas housing affordability indices indicate that homes are more affordable than ever. But this will not last. When the economy recovers and the Fed stops purchasing mortgages, rates will rise.”
To read more on the subject, see Dotzour’s article “Rate Expectations” in the January 2010 issue of Tierra Grande magazine at http://recenter.tamu.edu/tgrande/It’s not if interest rates will rise but when
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Feb. 1, 2010 – According to Dr. Mark Dotzour, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, mortgage interest rates are low right now but don’t expect that to last. When the government quits buying mortgage-backed securities, rates will head up and away.
Dotzour says that mortgage rates were low at the end of 2009 because “the global consensus among bondholders appeared to be that inflation will remain low in the United States for an extended period. This caused the ten-year U.S. Treasury rate to fall to between 3.2 and 3.6 percent for much of the second half of 2009.”
With extraordinary levels of federal deficit spending, Dotzour says it is unlikely that the low-inflation scenario will be popular when the economy starts to rebound. Consumers should expect mortgage rates to rise when signs of improvement appear.
A second factor contributing to the low mortgage rates is the Federal Reserve Bank’s unprecedented purchase of nearly all the mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2009, he adds. Totaling more than $1 trillion for the year, this program has been extended through the end of March 2010.
“The Fed has never done this before in its history,” says Dotzour. “They are doing this to stimulate the economy by keeping mortgage rates as low as possible. When the Fed stops buying these securities from Fannie and Freddie, mortgage rates are likely to increase, and possibly quite abruptly.”
How far will rates go up when the Fed terminates its buying program? Dotzour says that question is difficult to answer precisely because this has never been done before; but many experts think that rates could move up one-half to 1 percent.
“The combination of extraordinarily low mortgage rates and current price levels are making homes extremely affordable to American families. In fact, national and Texas housing affordability indices indicate that homes are more affordable than ever. But this will not last. When the economy recovers and the Fed stops purchasing mortgages, rates will rise.”
To read more on the subject, see Dotzour’s article “Rate Expectations” in the January 2010 issue of Tierra Grande magazine at http://recenter.tamu.edu/tgrande/.

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Expanded Homebuyer Tax Credit: Small Window, Big Opportunity

Island home prices are at the lowest level in years and interest rates are still hovering around the 5 percent range  This is an excellent time to include the expanded U. S. Homebuyer Tax Credit into the mix and purchase a new (or second) home before April 30.
___________________________________________________________________________________

RISMEDIA, January 8, 2010—

The countdown is under way.  As of January 1, you have four months to take advantage of the expanded U. S. Homebuyer Tax Credit by the April 30 deadline.

Available Tax Credits

Available Tax Credit

Fueled by the original November 30, 2009 deadline, sales of existing homes had increased steadily since April, with the exception of a slight dip in August. NAR surveys show that about 30% of all closed transactions during that period involved first-time buyers.

In November, Congress extended the tax credit and amended it to include some repeat buyers in hopes of securing a more sustained real estate upswing. However, the narrow window suggests none of us should count on another extension.

RISMEDIA, January 8, 2010—The countdown is under way. As of January 1, you have four months to promote the expanded U.S. Homebuyer Tax Credit and get your qualified buyers under contract by the April 30 deadline.
Fueled by the original November 30, 2009 deadline, sales of existing homes had increased steadily since April, with the exception of a slight dip in August. NAR surveys show that about 30% of all closed transactions during that period involved first-time buyers.
In November, Congress extended the tax credit and amended it to include some repeat buyers in hopes of securing a more sustained real estate upswing. However, the narrow window suggests none of us should count on another extension.
Read more: http://rismedia.com/2010-01-07/expanded-home-buyer-tax-credit-small-window-big-opportunity/#
RISMEDIA, January 8, 2010—The countdown is under way. As of January 1, you have four months to promote the expanded U.S. Homebuyer Tax Credit and get your qualified buyers under contract by the April 30 deadline.
Fueled by the original November 30, 2009 deadline, sales of existing homes had increased steadily since April, with the exception of a slight dip in August. NAR surveys show that about 30% of all closed transactions during that period involved first-time buyers.
In November, Congress extended the tax credit and amended it to include some repeat buyers in hopes of securing a more sustained real estate upswing. However, the narrow window suggests none of us should count on another extension.
Read more: http://rismedia.com/2010-01-07/expanded-home-buyer-tax-credit-small-window-big-opportunity/#ixzz0cb1zsC49

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Local Home Sales Surge

By Duane Marsteller – dmarsteller@bradenton.com

MANATEE — The federal government played Santa Claus for local Realtors last month, delivering an early Christmas gift: A boon in business.

sales-chart upSales of existing single-family homes and condominium units in the Sarasota/Bradenton market and the rest of Florida surged last month, fueled by a federal tax credit for home buyers and low prices, according to statistics released Tuesday.

Local Realtors sold 784 single-family homes in November, up 63 percent from the 482 they sold in November 2008, the Florida Association of Realtors reported. Local condo sales more than doubled, from 104 units sold in November 2008 to 239 sold last month.

Read More

MANATEE — The federal government played Santa Claus for local Realtors last month, delivering an early Christmas gift: A boon in business.
Sales of existing single-family homes and condominium units in the Sarasota/Bradenton market and the rest of Florida surged last month, fueled by a federal tax credit for home buyers and low prices, according to statistics released Tuesday.
Local Realtors sold 784 single-family homes in November, up 63 percent from the 482 they sold in November 2008, the Florida Association of Realtors reported. Local condo sales more than doubled, from 104 units sold in November 2008 to 239 sold last month.— The federal government played Santa Claus for local Realtors last month, delivering an early Christmas gift: A boon in business.
Sales of existing single-family homes and condominium units in the Sarasota/Bradenton market and the rest of Florida surged last month, fueled by a federal tax credit for home buyers and low prices, according to statistics released Tuesday.
Local Realtors sold 784 single-family homes in November, up 63 percent from the 482 they sold in November 2008, the Florida Association of Realtors reported. Local condo sales more than doubled, from 104 units sold in November 2008 to 239 sold last monthMANATEE — The federal government played Santa Claus for local Realtors last month, delivering an early Christmas gift: A boon in business.
Sales of existing single-family homes and condominium units in the Sarasota/Bradenton market and the rest of Florida surged last month, fueled by a federal tax credit for home buyers and low prices, according to statistics released Tuesday.
Local Realtors sold 784 single-family homes in November, up 63 percent from the 482 they sold in November 2008, the Florida Association of Realtors reported. Local condo sales more than doubled, from 104 units sold in November 2008 to 239 sold last month.

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Interest Rates Edge Above 5%

You can expect higher rates in the next 30-45 days, say 61% of the experts polled by Bankrate.com last week. But only 8% foresee no change, and almost one-third (31%) predict a drop.
_________________________________________________________________________________

McLEAN, Va. – Jan. 4, 2009 – Mortgage rates rose for the fourth straight week, ending the year above 5 percent.

The average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage was 5.14 percent last week, up from 5.05 percent one week earlier, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Mortgage rates are closely tied to yields on long-term government debt. The average fixed rate on 30-year mortgages has steadily risen since hitting a record low of 4.71 percent the week of Dec. 3.

Interest Rates Move Higher

Interest Rates Move Higher

The Federal Reserve is pouring $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to keep rates low this year. The program, aimed at making home buying more affordable, is set to end next spring.

Still, qualifying for a loan is hard because lenders have severely tightened requirements. The best rates are available to those with good credit and a 20 percent down payment.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders across the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.54 percent from 4.45 percent last week.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.44 percent, up from 4.40 percent last week. However, rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.33 percent from 4.38 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year loans. The fee averaged 0.7 point for 15-year and 0.6 point for five-year loans and for one-year mortgages.

McLEAN, Va. – Jan. 4, 2009 – Mortgage rates rose for the fourth straight week, ending the year above 5 percent.
The average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage was 5.14 percent last week, up from 5.05 percent one week earlier, Freddie Mac said Thursday.
Mortgage rates are closely tied to yields on long-term government debt. The average fixed rate on 30-year mortgages has steadily risen since hitting a record low of 4.71 percent the week of Dec. 3.
The Federal Reserve is pouring $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to keep rates low this year. The program, aimed at making home buying more affordable, is set to end next spring.
Still, qualifying for a loan is hard because lenders have severely tightened requirements. The best rates are available to those with good credit and a 20 percent down payment.
Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders across the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.54 percent from 4.45 percent last week.
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.44 percent, up from 4.40 percent last week. However, rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.33 percent from 4.38 percent.
The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year loans. The fee averaged 0.7 point for 15-year and 0.6 point for five-year loans and for one-year mortgagesMcLEAN, Va. – Jan. 4, 2009 – Mortgage rates rose for the fourth straight week, ending the year above 5 percent.
The average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage was 5.14 percent last week, up from 5.05 percent one week earlier, Freddie Mac said Thursday.
Mortgage rates are closely tied to yields on long-term government debt. The average fixed rate on 30-year mortgages has steadily risen since hitting a record low of 4.71 percent the week of Dec. 3.
The Federal Reserve is pouring $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to keep rates low this year. The program, aimed at making home buying more affordable, is set to end next spring.
Still, qualifying for a loan is hard because lenders have severely tightened requirements. The best rates are available to those with good credit and a 20 percent down payment.
Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders across the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.54 percent from 4.45 percent last week.
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.44 percent, up from 4.40 percent last week. However, rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.33 percent from 4.38 percent.
The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year loans. The fee averaged 0.7 point for 15-year and 0.6 point for five-year loans and for one-year mortgages.

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