The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the February edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard on Friday. The report found that new home sales rose, foreclosure completion were down, and home prices remained stable.
New home purchases rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 468,000, a 9.6 percent increase for the month of January. This increase was the highest since mid-2008, and 2.2 percent above January, 2013 sales.
The government's loss mitigation programs appear to working. The Making Home Affordable program (MHA) has executed over 1.9 million homeowner assistance actions, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) "has offered nearly 2.2 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through January," according to the report.
"The standards set by the Making Home Affordable program and our quarterly servicer assessments have positively impacted the mortgage servicing industry," said Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler. "While the housing market as a whole has made significant progress, servicers still have room for improvement and Treasury will continue to press the industry to improve servicer performance."
The report comments, "The Administration's programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals nearly 4.0 million proprietary modifications through December (data are reported with a two month lag)."
In total, 8.1 million mortgage modifications and other mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April, 2009 and the end of January, 2014.
On a more local level, HUD's neighborhood stabilization program, which helps communities address foreclosed or abandoned homes, has completed or rehabilitated 32,000 units while providing direct assistance to 10,800 homeowners.
The Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) has saved an estimated $25.5 billion to date in monthly mortgage payments.
Mortgage rates were a reported 4.37 percent, and 30,226 U.S. properties were repossessed by lenders in January, down 40 percent from one year ago—to their lowest level since July 2007. Completed foreclosures were 4 percent below their December level.
Mortgage delinquency rates for prime mortgages fell slightly from 3.2 to 3.1, and for subprime borrowers delinquencies showed a similar fall, from 32.1 percent to 32 percent.
Homeowners' equity jumped over $400 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, reaching over $10 trillion for the first time since 2007.