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Administration: ‘Key’ Housing Indicators Improve, Recovery Still ‘Fragile’

The housing industry is making ""important progress across many key indicators,"" according to the Obama Administration's latest housing ""scorecard"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=HUDMarchNat2013_Scd.pdf, but as usual, the administration continued to warn the ""overall recovery remains fragile.""


The scorecard, jointly released by HUD and the Department of Treasury, combines housing data from the public and private sectors to provide an overview of the housing market.

In the March report, the administration highlighted data showing improvements in housing such as the Federal Housing Finance Agency's index, which showed home ""prices rose 6.5 percent"":http://dsnews.comarticles/fhfa-home-prices-maintain-monthly-yearly-gains-in-january-2013-03-22 year-over-year in January, as well as the Case-Shiller index, which ""reported"":http://dsnews.comarticles/case-shiller-indices-post-strongest-gain-since-2006-2013-03-26 an 8.1 percent increase during the same time period.


Thanks to rising home values, ""CoreLogic data"":http://dsnews.comarticles/corelogic-17m-homes-moved-into-positive-territory-in-2012-2013-03-19 showed more homeowners were also able to rise out of negative equity.

""In 2012, homeowners' equity grew by more than $1.64 trillion and rising home values lifted 1.7 million of them back above water. Despite the positive news, we have important work ahead since there are so many families and individuals still struggling,"" said Kurt Usowski, HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs.

In conjunction with the scorecard, the administration also released its progress report on the Making Home Affordable Program.

As of February, more than 1.1 million homeowners have found payment relief through the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). On average, homeowners in the program were able save about $546 on their mortgage payments each month.

The report also profiled characteristics of borrowers in the program and revealed 80 percent of borrowers who began a HAMP trial modification were 60-plus days delinquent at the start of their trial. Homeowners also had an average gross monthly income of $3,843.09 and a credit score of 574.

Among borrowers with non-GSE mortgages who qualified for HAMP, about 70 percent were able to receive a principal reduction with their modification.

Homeowners also found relief through the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA). According to the report, more than 126,000 homeowners have managed to avoid foreclosure through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

About Author: Esther Cho


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