The U.S. housing market continued to improve in several keys areas to finish out 2013, according to the December edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard, with notable improvements in both home values and home equity.
Since the beginning of 2012, the number of ‘underwater’ homeowners—those who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth—declined by 5.7 million, while homeowners’ equity rose by 55% to $9.7 trillion, said Edward Szymanoski, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs.
“December’s Housing Scorecard shows that we are continuing to make progress helping struggling homeowners get back on their feet,” Szymanoski said. “There remains more work to do to address the 6.4 million homeowners who remain underwater; nevertheless, these are encouraging signs that the housing market recovery is providing millions of American homeowners with more economic security.”
The rise in home values was attributed to the increase in home equity and decline in underwater borrowers. As of October 2013, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s purchase-only index rose 8.2% from the previous year to become on par with prices in early 2005.
Homeowners are continuing to pursue programs related to modifying mortgages or foreclosure mitigation, says the Obama Administration.
“December’s Making Home Affordable (MHA) report shows that nearly 1.3 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the program has saved homeowners an estimated $24.2 billion to date in mortgage payments,” said Treasury Acting Assistant Tim Bowler.
Access the December Housing Scorecard.
Written by Alyssa Gerace