Obama housing scorecard touts 'advances' in August
The Obama Administration's latest scorecard on the housing market touted advances in refinancing and house prices in August. The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury Department compiled data for the monthly scorecard. According to the administration, stabilizing housing prices leveled off in the past year after 30 straight months of declines. Homeowners added $95 billion in home equity in the second quarter. The scorecard did acknowledge "a dip" in home sale figures in July after the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. But since April 2009, record low mortgage rates have helped more than 7.1 million families refinance, saving more than $12.7 billion. According to the scorecard, more than twice as many modification agreements have been begun compared to foreclosure completions. Servicers started more than 3.3 million mod agreements between April 2009 and July 2010, including 1.3 million through the Home Affordable Modification Program and more than 1.6 million through proprietary programs. Through HAMP, servicers have now completed more than 33,000 permanent modifications in August, pushing the total to 468,000 since the program launched in March 2009. But the amount of permanent HAMP mods completed in August was 27% below the amount done in July. “Over the last 17 months, the Obama Administration has taken comprehensive action to keep interest rates at record lows, provide incentives to responsible homebuyers, and help millions of families stay in their homes,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “But we’re certainly not going to stop fighting to turn things around." Write to Jon Prior.