The Obama administration's housing scorecard for March shows mortgage delinquencies down over last year and home prices unchanged and remaining at historic lows.
Homes sales dipped slightly while refinancings rose compared to the previous quarter.
The scorecard, which is released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury, showed existing-home sales in January and February reaching their strongest start levels in five years, which was promoted as good news by the administration. Meanwhile, existing-home sales remained somewhat steady in the most recent reporting falling slightly to 382,500, compared to 385,800 in 4Q and 351,700 last year.
On the downside, home price growth is anemic, marking its fifth month of seasonal lows in March, the scorecard said.
Seriously delinquent prime mortgages fell to 1.42 million in the most recent quarter from 1.43 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Both numbers are well below the 1.6 million delinquencies documented a year earlier.
Seriously delinquent subprime loans, meanwhile, declined to 1.7 million from 1.74 million in the last period. Both figures are below the 1.8 million seriously delinquent subprime mortgages recorded a year ago.
Mortgage originations tied to refinancing activity also grew to 1.3 million filings, compared to 900,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 1.6 million a year ago.
Purchase originations, on the other hand, fell from 519,000 in the fourth quarter to 396,400.
The number of underwater borrowers also grew slightly from the fourth quarter, with 11.1 million borrowers upside down in the most recent scorecard, up from 10.7 million in the final quarter of 2011.
Mortgage rates also are way down, with the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hovering at 3.99%, compared to 4.86% a year earlier.