Home Price Gains Get Good Grades in Obama Housing Scorecard

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. 

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“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. 

While the purchase of new homes and home price gains remained strong in November, along with the decrease in foreclosure starts, housing officials caution that the overall recovery remains fragile. 

Access the November 2013 Housing Scorecard. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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  • Leave it to the Obama Administration to take credit for things it has had little to do with. For example, the so called Dodd-Frank law which was introduced by the Obama Administration has had a far more negative influence on home ownership than the positive influence predicted by most Democrats. The President and his administration seem more interested in mandating less than well reasoned laws and regulations on housing than finding ways to grow and stabilize our economy.

    Yes, FHA has been the main supplier of mortgages in the last five years but why? We need law and government policies which regulate without unnecessary restrictions so that the only mortgages reasonably available are those insured by FHA. To accomplish that goal, the Obama administration should consult the business leaders they detest.

    Neither Countrywide’s own former Senator Chris Dodd nor the former Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services are exactly the leading thinkers on how to regulate or oversee the mortgage industry so as to result in a reasonable housing policy. Who can forget the reaction of the former Chairman who claimed he always promoted and supported a reasoned and safe housing policy watching a clip of his own irresponsible rant in 2005 on how home ownership needed to expand despite warnings about a housing bubble. He was as wrong in December 2009 for his sponsoring of the revised Obama proposal which was the forerunner of the Dodd-Frank Act and then in July 2010 for the compromise with Chris Dodd in their production of the Dodd-Frank Act as he was in 2005 when advocating that the predicted negative impact of the housing bubble was more fiction than pending problem.

    The President is a great orator but a lousy leader or administrator.

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