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HUD: Housing Outlook Good, More to be Done

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the June edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard Thursday. It paints a picture of a housing market that is improving but still subject to ebbs and flows of the broader economy.

“The June Housing Scorecard shows the housing market continues to make progress as we move into the summer months,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Katherine O’Regan. “Sales of new and existing homes are up, equity continues to grow, and foreclosures starts continue trending down. While these are all signs of a healthy recovery, given the severity of the housing crisis, we must stay committed to helping homeowners.”

The report echoed many reports of recent months that foreclosures are down, both from the previous month and year-over-year. Foreclosure starts are down 32 percent from this point last year, falling to their lowest level since 2005. Likewise, foreclosure completions are also down to an 82 month low, dropping 27 percent from last year

The report emphasized the steps that the government has taken to ensure that homeowners are as insulated as possible from the treat of foreclosure. All in all, the report contends, more than 8.5 million mortgage modification and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of May 2014 through citizens taking advantage of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and other programs.

It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands more of the programs are eligible for some form of mortgage assistance with the help of the federal government but the pace of enrollment has slowed down in the past year. So much so that the Federal Housing Finance Agency has taken a more aggressive role in promoting the programs to skeptical borrowers.

About Author: Derek Templeton

Derek Templeton is an attorney based in Dallas, Texas. He practices in the areas of real estate, financial services, and general corporate transactional law. His experience includes time as an Attorney Adviser for the U.S. Small Business Administration and as General Counsel for a nonprofit organization in Dallas. A self-avowed "policy junkie," he has a keen interest in the effect that evolving federal policy has on the mortgage, default servicing, and greater housing industries.

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