Home prices received good grades in the Obama Administration’s November Housing Scorecard, as increases helped lower the number of ‘underwater’ homeowners and foreclosure starts.
As of September 2013, the Federal Housing Finance Agency purchase-only index rose 8.5% from the previous year and 0.3% from August, according to the Scorecard, jointly released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Treasury Department.
Home values are now on par with prices in early 2005, the FHFA’s seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. indicates.
“The November housing scorecard shows that the Obama Administration’s continuing efforts to help responsible homeowners are having a positive effect,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski in a statement. “The Obama Administration’s policies, continuing economic and job growth, and rising house prices have combined to reduce foreclosure starts to levels not seen since 2005.”
However, the number of ‘underwater’ mortgages, where homeowners owe more on the mortgage than what the home is worth, is still historically elevated despite a 40% decline from its peak, Usowski notes, indicating “more work needs to be done to ensure the continued stability of the housing market.”
Foreclosure starts declined from October 2012’s 89,200 to around 58,900 a year later. New home sales ticked up to 37,000 in October from 30,400 the previous year, while existing home sales increased 6% year-over-year.