Obama Administration Releases March Housing Scorecard

April 12, 2014

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of the Treasury recently released the March edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard. This comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market is released monthly, revealing details on current housing statistics, overall trends, regional trend, foreclosure levels and more. According to the latest data, foreclosure starts continued on their downward trend and home prices remained stable in January. These positive trends are certainly worth noting; however, the administration also cautioned that the economy is still healing from the Great Recession.

“While there is good news in the March Scorecard, it’s clear the housing market is still in the recovery phase of the cycle,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. “The good news is that homeowners’ equity is now over $10 trillion, foreclosure starts are at their lowest levels since 2005, and house prices remain stable, but the recovery is stronger in some markets than in others. Overall, with home sales slowing, too many homeowners still underwater, and mortgage delinquency rates remaining high compared to historic norms, we must sustain our efforts to encourage continuing recovery in the housing market and help responsible homeowners.”

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is also continuing to offer help to millions of homeowners in need.

“The Administration’s Making Home Affordable program continues to provide assistance to struggling homeowners, with more than 1.3 million homeowners receiving permanent modifications through HAMP,” said Tim Bowler, Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability. “In addition, the standards set through the program have helped change the industry and helped millions more avoid foreclosure.”

Here’s a brief overview of a few more key highlights from the March Housing Scorecard:

  • Home prices remain stable.

As of January 2014, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) purchase-only house price index rose 7.4 percent from last year and climbed 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from December. The FHFA seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. indicates that home values are close to prices last seen in mid-2005. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for January posted returns of 13.2 percent over the past 12 months; however, it was down 0.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted) from December. It should be noted that home prices are generally weaker during this time of year. 

  • Foreclosure starts hit lowest level since 2005.

Recently initiated foreclosure filings on 51,842 U.S. properties were down 9 percent from January and 27 percent from a year ago. This put the level at the lowest point seen since December 2005. According to the HUD press release, a total of 30,307 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders (Real Estate Owned, or REO) in February, a level that is nearly the same as January and down 33 percent from a year ago. 

See related post, “Foreclosures Hit Six-Year Low.”

See related post: Jobs Creation Rises in March

  • Obama Administration foreclosure mitigation program continues to provide relief for homeowners in crisis.

According to the report, nearly 2 million homeowner assistance actions have occurred thanks to the Making Home Affordable Program, including more than 1.3 million permanent loan modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offerd more than 2.2 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through the month of February. Overall, more than 8.2 million mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance programs were completed between April 2009 and February 2014.

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