The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have released the November edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard showing progress among many key indicators. The purchase of new homes and home prices remain strong and foreclosures are down. Although there is much good news, officials caution that the overall recovery remains fragile.
"The November housing scorecard shows that the Obama Administration's continuing efforts to help responsible homeowners are having a positive effect," said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. "The Obama Administration's policies, continuing economic and job growth, and rising house prices have combined to reduce foreclosure starts to levels not seen since 2005. And although the number of homeowners 'underwater' meaning they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth is down more than 40 percent from its peak, the number remains historically elevated meaning more work needs to be done to ensure the continued stability of the housing market."
Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler said, “The standards set by the Making Home Affordable program have transformed the mortgage servicing industry, as have our quarterly servicer assessments. While the country as a whole has made significant progress, there is still room for improvement for servicers and the Treasury is committed to applying pressure on the mortgage servicing industry to improve servicer behavior. Although the housing market has largely recovered, there are still homeowners struggling and it is key that we continue to help them.”
Since the beginning of the Making Home Affordable Program, Treasury has required participating servicers to take specific actions to improve their processes through ongoing program reviews. The quarterly Servicer Assessments summarize performance in three categories of program implementation: identifying and contacting homeowners; homeowner evaluation and assistance; and program management and reporting.
For the third quarter of 2013, the Servicer Assessment has been enhanced to present new compliance metrics and related benchmarks. These changes will provide additional insight into the impact of servicer performance on the borrower’s experience, allow for trending analysis of all compliance metrics and foster further improvement in servicer performance by tightening performance benchmarks.
Changes to the Servicer Assessment include:
►Tightening the performance benchmarks for existing compliance metrics, in addition to expanding the coverage of certain existing metrics;
►Adding three new compliance metrics, such as servicer compliance with timely assignment of a single point of contact in addition and;
►Removing three existing compliance metrics.
For the third quarter of 2013, three servicers were found to need minor improvement, three servicers were found to need moderate improvement and one servicer was found to need substantial improvement. All servicers will need to continue to demonstrate progress in areas identified in program reviews. Although this quarter’s results indicate one servicer needs substantial improvement, on average servicer performance has improved since the inception of the Servicer Assessment reports. This is evidenced by an average income calculation error rate of 0.8 percent for this quarter.
The November Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
►The Administration's foreclosure mitigation programs continue to provide relief for millions of homeowners as the recovery from the housing crisis continues. Over 1.8 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including more than 1.2 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 2 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through October. The Administration's programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than 3.8 million proprietary modifications through September.
►Homeowners in HAMP continue to benefit from meaningful payment relief, increasing their long-term likelihood of avoiding foreclosure. As of October, more than 1.2 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through HAMP, saving approximately $547 on their mortgage payments each month- a nearly 40 percent savings from their previous payment— saving a total estimated $23.5 billion in monthly mortgage payments. In October, 69 percent of eligible non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Homeowners currently in HAMP permanent modifications with some form of principal reduction have been granted an estimated $12.4 billion in principal reduction. View the Making Home Affordable Program Report with data through October 2013.
►The Neighborhood Stabilization Program continues to help communities across all 50 states to address foreclosed and abandoned homes. During the third quarter of 2013, grantees report cumulative completions of newly constructed or rehabilitated housing units under NSP topping 28,000 units, while direct assistance to homeowners reached the 10,500 mark, signaling strong progress toward achieving projected activity under the NSP1, NSP2, and NSP3 programs.