The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the March edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard that shows important progress across many key indicators—as home prices continue to show strong annual gains and purchases of new homes and sales of existing homes sustained their upward trajectory—although officials caution that the overall recovery remains fragile.
“As the March housing scorecard indicates, the Obama Administration’s efforts to speed housing recovery are continuing to show important signs of progress,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. “In 2012, homeowners’ equity grew by more than $1.64 trillion and rising home values lifted 1.7 million of them back above water. Despite the positive news, we have important work ahead since there are so many families and individuals still struggling.”
“The Administration’s programs continue to offer struggling homeowners some of the most sustainable relief available to prevent foreclosure,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “These programs have paved the way for millions of additional families to get help with their mortgage payments while setting better standards for the mortgage industry.”
The March Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
► HAMP continues to offer homeowners affordable and sustainable relief to avoid foreclosure. As of February, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through HAMP saving approximately $546 on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $18.5 billion to date. In February, 70 percent of homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Homeowners currently in permanent HAMP modifications have been granted an estimated $9.6 billion in total principal reduction.
► Home prices showed large annual gains for the 12 months ending January 2013 and purchases of new homes and sales of existing homes continued to strengthen. The FHFA purchase-only index was up 6.5 percent from one year ago and the Case-Shiller 20-city index was up 8.1 percent over the same period. Purchases of new homes in February 2013 were up 12 percent from one year ago, the second highest level since April 2010. February sales of existing homes were up 10 percent over the same period, the highest since November 2009, when the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit was in effect.
► The Administration's foreclosure mitigation programs are providing relief for millions of homeowners as we continue to recover from an unprecedented housing crisis. More than 1.5 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including more than 1.1 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.7 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 nearly 3.5 million proprietary mortgage modifications through January.