Obama administration cautiously optimistic about housing market
WASHINGTON- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of the Treasury recently released the September edition of the Obama administration’s Housing Scorecard — a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market.
Data continue to show signs that the housing market is strengthening; home equity has increased by $860 billion since the end of 2011 and August had the highest level of existing home sales in more than two years. Although officials caution that the overall recovery remains fragile.
The full Housing Scorecard is available online at hud.gov/scorecard.
“As the September housing scorecard indicates, our housing market is showing important signs of recovery — with homeowner equity at a four-year high and summer sales of existing homes at the strongest pace in two years,” said HUD Acting Assistant Secretary Erika Poethig. “The Administration’s efforts to keep housing affordable and refinances strong are critical with so many households still struggling to make ends meet. That is why we continue to ask Congress to approve the president’s refinancing proposal so that more homeowners can secure the help they need.”
“Tens of thousands of additional families benefit from the Administration’s programs every month, which offer some of the deepest assistance available to prevent foreclosures,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “As the housing market continues to recover, we remain focused on helping eligible families access this assistance.””
The September Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
- Rising home values have brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and helped lift 1.3 million families above water. Homeowner equity jumped $406 billion, or 5.9 percent, to $7,275 billion in the second quarter of 2012. After a sharp first quarter rise, total equity has grown to $863 billion, or 13.5 percent, since the end of 2011. The number of underwater borrowers has declined by 11 percent since the end of last year, from 12.1 million in the 4th quarter of 2011 to 10.8 million in the second quarter of 2012.
- The administration’s foreclosure programs are providing relief for millions of homeowners as we continue to recover from an unprecedented housing crisis. Nearly 1.3 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration has offered more than 1.4 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than three million proprietary mortgage modifications through July.
- Homeowners entering HAMP continue to benefit from deep and sustainable assistance. As of August, more than one million homeowners have received a permanent HAMP modification, saving approximately $539 on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $15 billion to date. In August 81 percent of homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Eighty-seven percent of homeowners entering the program in the last two years have received a permanent modification.