On the Right Track: Scorecard Paints a Picture of Housing Health – DS News Kendall Baer

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently published a housing scorecard reviewing the monthly analysis of the housing market and the government programs implemented for the mortgage industry. The scorecard shows progress with rebounds in purchases of new homes, increases in existing home sales, and continued lowering of mortgage rates to an additional three-year low. HUD notes that while a healthy trajectory is shown, there must be continued support of housing programs.

HUD’s scorecard focuses on the healthy track of the housing market but puts an emphasis on the Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs and how they see them continue to provide relief to homeowners as the recovery from the housing crisis continues. In all, HUD reports nearly 10.7 million mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of June 2016 as well as over 2.6 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program. This includes over 1.6 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). As well the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered nearly 3.3 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through June.

HUD says that these Administration programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with lenders offering families and individuals nearly 4.8 million proprietary modifications through the most recent data collection in May.

In looking at the trends taken place this month in the market, the report states that one of the trends seen has been purchases of new homes rebounding. It is shown that new single-family home sales rose 3.5 percent in June to 592,000 which is the highest pace seen since February 2008. Additionally, new home purchases rose or remained the same for the past four consecutive months and were up 25.4 percent over the previous year.

Likewise, sales of existing homes rose for the fourth consecutive month. HUD reports The National Association of Realtors (NAR) data for sales of existing homes which rose 1.1 percent in June to 5.57 million at their fastest pace since February 2007. It is also reported that sales were 3.0 percent higher than a year earlier and the share of first-time homebuyers was the highest since July 2012 at 33 percent. It’s also shown that existing home sales have been above the 5.0 million mark for 15 of the past 16 months.

Finally, HUD reports that mortgage rates hit another three-year low in July. This refers to the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.41 percent for the week ending July 7, 2016 falling down from 3.97 percent at the start of the year. This rate is also marked as the lowest level since the beginning of May 2013. The scorecard also shows that the average weekly 30-year fixed rate is now 10 basis points above the lowest recorded rate of 3.31 percent in November 2012

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