The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have released the September edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard, a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest housing figures show continued signs of stabilization in house prices. Although existing and new home sales declined in July, recent data shows housing starts rebounded in August. “Over the last 17 months, the Obama Administration has taken comprehensive action to keep interest rates at record lows, provide incentives to responsible homebuyers, and help millions of families stay in their homes,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “But we’re certainly not going to stop fighting to turn things around. That’s why we are focusing on successfully implementing the programs we have put in place, such as additional assistance on refinancing and helping unemployed homeowners stay in their homes, and will continue to monitor the market closely in case more is needed.” The September Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market including: ►Families continued to benefit from the lowest rates in history on 30-year fixed mortgages. Since April of 2009, record low rates have helped more than 7.1 million homeowners to refinance, resulting in more stable home prices and $12.7 billion in total borrower savings. ►Existing and new home sales shifted downward in July, though stabilizing housing prices drove improving expectations in some regions. As expected with the expiration of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, new and existing home sales showed a dip in July. At the same time, home prices have leveled off in the past year after 30 straight months of decline and homeowners added $95 billion in home equity in the second quarter. ►More than twice as many loan modification arrangements have begun compared to foreclosure completions. More than 3.35 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of July 2010. These included more than 1.3 million trial Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) modification starts, more than 510,000 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and nearly 1.6 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. The number of agreements offered continued to more than double foreclosure completions for the same period (1.24 million). ►More than 468,000 permanent modifications granted to homeowners; more than 33,000 homeowners received a HAMP permanent modification in August. In addition, servicers continue to work aggressively through their backlog of pending modifications, which is expected to decline in coming months. Homeowners in permanent HAMP modifications have a median monthly payment reduction of 36 percent, or more than $500 per month. Homeowners in permanent modifications saw their median first-lien housing expenses fall from nearly 45 percent of their monthly household income to 31 percent. “We’ve been steadily enhancing our programs to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Herb Allison. “We understand that the foreclosure crisis can be highly localized and some regions have seen severe home price declines and faced severe unemployment. As a result, we have announced more than $4 billion for states hit hardest by this crisis. Our goal is to help build a sustainable, long-term housing recovery. As part of that effort, we have delivered critical support to struggling homeowners while the market continues to heal.” Each month, the Housing Scorecard incorporates key housing market indicators and highlights the impact of the Administration's unprecedented housing recovery efforts, including assistance to homeowners through the FHA and HAMP. For more information, visit www.hud.gov/scorecard.
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