The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have released the April edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard. While house prices remain stable and equity continues to grow, new and existing home sales have slowed. While this scorecard notes positive overall trends in the housing market, officials caution that the harsh winter slowed growth as the economy recovers from the Great Recession.
“April’s Housing Scorecard shows that the housing market is stabilizing, as home prices have risen nearly seven percent from last year, and foreclosure completions are at their lowest level since mid-2007,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Katherine O’Regan. “However, the harsh winter, fewer distressed properties on the market, and continued tight credit standards have combined to slow the pace of home sales this month, indicating we need to remain vigilant to keep the recovery robust.”
“While the housing market continues to make progress, there are still many homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments,” said Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler. “Treasury remains committed to helping homeowners through our programs under Making Home Affordable (MHA). As this report shows, nearly 1.3 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the program has saved homeowners an estimated $26.8 billion to date in monthly mortgage payments.”
The April Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
►As of February 2014, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) purchase-only house price index rose 6.9 percent from last year and ticked up 0.6 percent (seasonally adjusted) from January. The FHFA seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. shows that home values are on par with prices in mid-2005. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for February posted returns of 12.9 percent over the past 12 months and was virtually the same (not seasonally adjusted) from January. Prices, however, are typically weaker at this time of the year. The Case-Shiller index shows that home values are back to their mid-2004 levels.
►A total of 28,840 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders (Real Estate Owned, or REO) in March, down 5 percent from February and down 34 percent from a year ago—to the lowest level since July 2007. Newly initiated foreclosures, at 55,710 U.S. properties, were up seven percent from February but still down 24 percent from one year ago.
►Purchases of new homes dropped 14.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 384,000 in March—an eight-month low. New home sales were down 13.3 percent from a year earlier, the first annual decline since the third quarter of 2011.
►More than two million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including nearly 1.4 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered nearly 2.3 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through March. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than 4.0 million proprietary modifications through February (data are reported with a two month lag). In all, more than 8.3 million mortgage modification and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of March 2014.