April Housing Scorecard: Progress as Values Rise and Sales Remain Strong

RIS Media

14 May  2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury recently released the April edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest data show important progress across many key indicators—as home values continue to rise and home sales remained strong in April—although officials caution that the overall recovery remains fragile. The full Housing Scorecard is available online at www.hud.gov/scorecard.

“The Obama Administration’s efforts to speed the housing recovery are showing continued progress as the April scorecard indicators highlight ongoing improvements throughout the housing market,” says HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. “The annual increase in home prices is the highest in nearly seven years and sales of existing and new homes are both up over 10 percent from one year ago. But with so many households still struggling to make ends meet, we have important work ahead.”

“The Administration’s programs have improved outcomes for homeowners by setting new standards for mortgage assistance and putting into place unprecedented consumer protections,” says Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “HAMP continues to offer struggling families meaningful relief to avoid foreclosure and strengthen local communities.”

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:

The Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs are providing relief for millions of homeowners as we continue to recover from an unprecedented housing crisis. Nearly 1.6 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including more than 1.1 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.7 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than 3.5 million proprietary mortgage modifications through February.

Homeowners in HAMP continue to benefit from deep payment relief, helping them sustain their mortgage payments over time. As of March, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), saving approximately $546 on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $19.1 billion to date. Eighty-seven percent of homeowners starting the program in the past two and a half years have received a permanent modification of their mortgage through HAMP. Payment relief is strongly correlated to sustainability of modified payments over time. As a result, HAMP modifications continue to exhibit lower delinquency and re-default rates than industry modifications as reported by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Click here [2] to view the Making Home Affordable Program Report with data through March 2013.

Also featured this month in the Administration’s Housing Scorecard is a regional spotlight on market strength in the New York metropolitan area. The foreclosure crisis in the Metropolitan area developed later and differently than in other areas of the nation. While home price appreciation during the housing bubble progressed more rapidly than it did nationally, home prices in the region did not fall as sharply.

“The New York housing market is seeing the same signs of greater stability that the national data show for the broader housing market,” says Usowski. “As this Regional Spotlight reports, the Administration’s efforts have helped nearly 231,600 New York metropolitan area households avoid foreclosure. A strong local economic recovery is underway despite the impact of Hurricane Sandy, but we have much more to do to reach the many households who still face trouble and to help the New York market recover more broadly.”

The Housing Scorecard Regional Spotlight features data on the health of the New York metropolitan housing market and impact of efforts to help homeowners at the local level, as well as a summary of the added impacts on the local housing market from the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy including:

Economic and housing market conditions in the New York metropolitan area are improving. The unemployment rate for the region peaked at 9.3 percent in February 2010 and has since fallen to 8.4 percent as of March 2013. Although the share of distressed mortgages remains high, the foreclosure completion rate has remained well below the national rate.

The Administration’s Hardest Hit Fund and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs have fueled local foreclosure prevention efforts and market stability, while nearly 231,600 households have received mortgage modifications, many directly through Administration programs. Treasury provided $300 million to the State of New Jersey to provide assistance to struggling homeowners through the Hardest Hit Fund. The number of homeowners benefitting from the program has continued to increase due to growing demand. Moreover, approximately $110 million has been awarded to the New York metropolitan region through HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help purchase or redevelop residential properties and address the effects of abandoned and foreclosed housing. Both programs have helped provide increased stability to the New York housing market.

While the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on individual homeowners and affected communities were devastating, the overall economic impacts on the job market and employment in the region show an immediate spike in initial jobless claims and a drop in total employment after the storm, both of which rebounded quickly. Total employment in the New York metropolitan area, which fell by 32,000 jobs in November, increased by 53,200 in December to exceed total employment just before the storm.