Housing Market

Obama Administration’s November Housing Scorecard shows signs of improvement

mortgage rateThe Obama Administration released on Monday the November edition of its Housing Scorecard, which showed improvement across a number of indicators, but officials cautioned that the overall recovery is still fragile.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency purchase-only index rose 8.5 percent from last year and 0.3 percent from August, showing home values that are in the same range as prices in early 2005.

Rising home prices and mortgage rates have contributed to a slight decline in housing affordability, though the indicator is still above its historical norm at 164.3. An index above 100 indicates that a family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home.

“The November housing scorecard shows that the Obama Administration’s continuing efforts to help responsible homeowners is having a positive effect,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski said. “The Obama Administration’s policies, continuing economic and job growth, and rising house prices have combined to reduce foreclosure stats 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.”

Grantees of the Obama Administration’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program reported completion of 28,000 NSP units, and direct assistance to homeowners topped 10,500.

Over 1.8 million homeowner assistance actions have been taken through the Making Home Affordable Program, and the Federal Housing Administration has offered more than two million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through October.

More than 1.2 million homeowners received permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program, resulting in average savings of approximately 40 percent from previous payments.

“The standards set by the Making Home Affordable program have transformed the mortgage servicing industry, as have our quarterly servicer assessments,” Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler said. “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.”

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