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July Housing Scorecard shows improvement in housing recovery

140px-US-DeptOfTheTreasury-Seal.svgThe U.S. Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released last week the July Housing Scorecard, which showed progress across numerous indicators, though officials warn that the housing recovery remains fragile.

“As the July housing scorecard indicates, the Obama Administration’s efforts to speed housing recovery are continuing to build upon the progress that has been made over the last four years,” HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski said. “The annual home price increases over the last several months remain at levels not seen since 2006 and newly initiated foreclosures are at their lowest level since December 2005.  As we regain stability in our housing markets, it is time to begin the process of reforming the housing finance system to reduce the federal government footprint and ensure that private capital takes a sustainable central role.”

The scorecard showed that the Federal Housing Finance Administration’s purchase-only index increased 7.3 percent from one year ago. New home purchases in June increased by 38 percent from one year ago to the highest level in five years, and existing home sales increased 15 percent from last June.

Additionally, the Obama Administration’s foreclosure mitigation process has helped provide relief to homeowners. More than 1.7 million homeowner assistance actions, including 1.2 million permanent mortgage modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program, have been taken through the Making Home Affordable Program.

As of June, homeowners saved $547 on monthly mortgage payments as a result of permanent HAMP modifications—39 percent savings from their previous payments.

“The Administration’s HAMP program has provided direct assistance to more than one million homeowners while creating standards that have helped millions more,” Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad said. “HAMP was designed so that assistance would go to those homeowners most in need and that the modifications provided would be sustainable. Clearly without HAMP, national foreclosure rates would have been much higher and many borrowers would not have received the assistance they needed.”

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