Impact of Administration efforts seen in increased affordability and continued house price stabilization; data underscores more work ahead to stem foreclosures, delinquencies
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today released the August edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard (www.hud.gov/scorecard), a comprehensive report on the nation's housing market. In July, housing prices remained level after 30 straight months of decline, while some price predictions have improved. In addition, historic low interest rates continued to promote home affordability and refinancing options for the nation's families. However, the market remains fragile with foreclosure starts showing a slight increase and serious delinquencies continuing to work through the pipeline.
"While there has been some stabilization in the housing market, it remains clear that we have more work ahead," said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. "Through the Obama Administration's efforts over the past 16 months, we have seen increased price stabilization and improved home affordability for prospective, qualified homebuyers. At the same time, we know that we must continue to provide support to underwater borrowers, unemployed homeowners, and to the nation's hardest hit neighborhoods."
The August Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market including:
· Stabilizing housing prices drive improving expectations in some regions. After 30 straight months of decline, home prices have leveled off in the past year; futures indices have shifted upward since January 2009 as signs of recovery continue, although overall housing outlook measures remain mixed.
· More than twice as many modification arrangements begun compared to foreclosure completions. More than 3.15 million modification arrangements were done from April 2009 through the end of June 2010. This includes more than 1.3 million trial Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) modifications started, over 472,000 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and 1.4 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. The number of agreements offered continues to more than double foreclosure completions for the same period (1.24 million).
· More than 4.2 million families have benefited from housing counseling since April 2009. Working with a HUD-approved housing counselor can help borrowers manage debts apart from a mortgage – car payments, credit cards and personal loans, for example – and help them avoid falling into default.
· More than 37,000 homeowners received a HAMP permanent modification in July. While the pace of program entry has slowed due to upfront documentation requirements in place since June 1, this policy change streamlines the process to help more eligible homeowners convert to a permanent modification. Homeowners in permanent modifications are experiencing a median payment reduction of 36 percent, or more than $500 per month.
"HAMP, which represents just one, targeted piece of the Administration's larger efforts on housing, has so far offered more than a million and half responsible homeowners the chance to modify their mortgages. This program has helped to stabilize a housing market that remains fragile and has redefined the modification standard for the industry – both of which are delivering real benefits to struggling homeowners in communities across the country," said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Herb Allison. "Currently servicers are working through their pending modifications, and while Making Home Affordable works for a number of homeowners, many others are offered other means of avoiding foreclosure. As careful stewards of the scarce resources of the American taxpayer, we see this as prudent progress – and we will keep working to help the Americans hardest hit by this crisis."
Data in the scorecard show that the recovery in the housing market continues to remain fragile, with some measures suggesting recovery will take place over time. For example, foreclosure starts went up slightly in July from the previous month, but remain well below July 2009 levels.
Foreclosure completions also inched upward as the volume of serious delinquencies continues to work through the pipeline.
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.