Although existing and new home sales shifted downward in July due to the expiration of the Homebuyer Tax Credit, recent data shows housing starts rebounded in August according to the Obama Administration’s latest scorecard.
According to the Department, home prices have leveled off in the past year after 30 straight months of decline and homeowners added $95 billion in home equity in the second quarter. Record low interest rates have also helped more than 7.1 million homeowners to refinance, resulting in more stable home prices and $12.7 billion in total borrower savings said the Administration.
“Over the last 17 months, the Obama Administration has taken comprehensive action to keep interest rates at record lows, provide incentives to responsible homebuyers, and help millions of families stay in their homes,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “But we’re certainly not going to stop fighting to turn things around. That’s why we are focusing on successfully implementing the programs we have put in place, such as additional assistance on refinancing and helping unemployed homeowners stay in their homes, and will continue to monitor the market closely in case more is needed.”
According to the scorecard, more than 3.35 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of July 2010. These included more than 1.3 million trial Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) modification starts, more than 510,000 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and nearly 1.6 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. The number of agreements offered continued to more than double foreclosure completions for the same period (1.24 million).
More than 468,000 permanent modifications granted to homeowners and over 33,000 homeowners received a HAMP permanent modification in August.
“We’ve been steadily enhancing our programs to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Herb Allison. “We understand that the foreclosure crisis can be highly localized and some regions have seen severe home price declines and faced severe unemployment. As a result, we have announced more than $4 billion for states hit hardest by this crisis. Our goal is to help build a sustainable, long-term housing recovery. As part of that effort, we have delivered critical support to struggling homeowners while the market continues to heal.”
To view a copy of the scorecard, see here.