Obama housing scorecard: Market fragile with signs of stabilization
The U.S. housing market remains fragile but is showing some signs of stabilization, according to the Obama administration's 2010 October housing scorecard. Rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages remain at all-time lows, helping 7.1 million homeowners refinance since April 2009 and resulting in $12.7 billion in homeowner savings, the scorecard noted. On the minus side, home sales have declined with the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, although home prices have shown some indication of stabilization. The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury Department compiled data for the monthly scorecard. More than 3.52 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of August 2010 — nearly triple the number of foreclosure completions during that time. These included more than 1.3 million trial Home Affordable Modification Program starts, more than 510,000 Federal Housing Administration loss-mitigation and early-delinquency interventions, and more than 1.6 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. At nine months, almost 90% of homeowners remain in their permanent HAMP modification, with 11% defaulted, according to the data. The scorecard shows that the number of existing homes on the market is below its 2008 peak, but data indicate that the number of units held off the market is on the rise. Data in the scorecard also show that the recovery in the housing market continues to be tepid. "Foreclosure completions continue to move upward and a large supply of homes are being held off the market," the scorecard notes. "While the recovery will take place over time, the administration remains committed to its efforts to prevent avoidable foreclosures and stabilize the housing market." Write to Kerry Curry.