Obama Scorecard: Homeowners Gain Trillions in Equity

Signals of recovery continue to resonate for the housing market as home prices, sales and purchases indicate stable growth through February, according to the recent data released by the Obama Administration. 

Home prices were up 8.1% in the last 12 months ending January 2013, according to Case-Shiller’s 20-city index, marking the highest increase since the housing bubble burst in 2006.

Additionally, the FHFA purchase-only index also showed an uptick over the same period as Case-Shiller’s index, rising 6.5% through January 2013, reports the most recent Housing Scorecard from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Treasury.

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Contributing to the market’s continued progress were considerable increases in both new home purchases as well as existing home sales.

New home purchases for February 2013 reached the highest level since April 2010, notes HUD, having risen 12% from a year ago. 

Existing home sales experienced similar growth, reporting a 10% increase in February 2013 compared to a year ago, notes HUD, the highest November 2009, when the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit was in effect.

As of February, the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has included more than 1.1 million permanent modifications, helping homeowners save approximately $546 on their mortgage payments each month, the administration said.

“As the March housing scorecard indicates, the Obama Administration’s efforts to speed housing recovery are continuing to show important signs of progress,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. “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, continued Usowski, there is still more work ahead as there are still millions of underwater homeowners still struggling. 

Homeowners currently enrolled in permanent HAMP modifications, according to the Obama Administration, have been granted an estimated $9.6 billion in total principal reduction. 

Written by Jason Oliva

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