Fragility Continues to Threaten the Housing Market

By Megan Hopkins

• April 5, 2013 • 1:55pm

The latest data from the Obama Administration revealed important progress in the housing rebound, but much like the last scorecard, it continues to warn that the overall recovery remains fragile.

“As the March housing scorecard indicates, the Obama Administration’s efforts to speed housing recovery are continuing to show important signs of progress,” said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski.

Home prices continued their upward trajectory — although very slight — with the S&P Case-Shiller home price index up from an index score of 146.0 in January to 146.1. However, this index score is still much higher than the 135.2 mark recorded a year ago.

Existing-home sales rose from a revised 411,700 units in February to 415,000 in the latest Scorecard, according to data gathered from the National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

Housing inventory made a U-turn after dropping to a revised 4.3-month supply in February, it rose again to a 4.7-month supply, NAR said.

According to data from CoreLogic, the number of underwater borrowers continued to be chipped away, falling to 10.4 million in the most recent report from 10.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The number of foreclosure starts increased from February’s 64,800 units to 71,500, according to RealtyTrac.

Usowski added, “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.”

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