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IT’S NEARLY THE END OF 2013 — by most accounts, a banner year for nearly everyone in mortgage banking who is not in default servicing.

Investors have been buying homes, distressed and otherwise, and some institutional investors have even already begun securitizing the cash flows that come from renting out this new asset class.

Home prices have been on the upswing in most markets, with the S&P/Case-Shiller 20 market composite index crossing its highest level in five years. The median existing-home sales price rose to $199,200 by September 2013, up from $178,300 one year earlier.

The Federal Reserve has played willing enabler, too, with continued quantitative easing (read: cheap money) allowing the refi boom to run its legs at least through the first half of this year, until talk of an eventual taper brought the party to a swift and perhaps unceremonious end.

2013 is also the year the nation’s foreclosure crisis finally came to a public end, with the number of U.S. consumers with a new foreclosure down to levels not seen since 2006 according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. More qualitatively, much of the major financial press has since moved onto the next crisis, be it Greece, Italy or municipal bonds (or student loans, or the debt ceiling, or….the list goes on and on).

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