Housing Scorecard Shows Progress

The housing market is making gradual improvements—home prices are inching up and foreclosures are falling—but the recovery still remains “fragile,” according to the Obama administration’s April Housing Scorecard. The monthly report highlights progress in the main indicators of the housing market.

“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 Kurt Usowski, HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs. “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.”

Existing-home sales fell to 410,000 in March from 412,500 in February, mostly attributed to a large drop in inventory of for-sale homes nationwide, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The administration’s housing scorecard also notes progress in chipping away at foreclosures. Foreclosure starts fell in April to 70,100 from March’s 73,100, according to RealtyTrac data. Mortgage delinquency rates fell from 3.8 percent to 3.6 percent, according to reports by Lender Processing Services.

Meanwhile, home owners continue to take advantage of low mortgage rates and government programs to lower their monthly mortgage payments. The report notes that nearly 1.6 million home owners have taken part in the Making Home Affordable Program, including more than 1.1 million permanent loan modifications through its Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP. Home owners who have taken part in the HAMP’s permanent loan modification have saved about $546 on mortgage payments each month.

Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and “Obama Scorecard: Housing headed in right direction,” HousingWire