National Home Equity Reaches Highest Level Since 2007

Though still healing from the Great Recession, the housing market continues to show positive strides, especially as homeowners’ equity rises to a level not seen since 2007.

Nationwide, homeowners’ equity is up nearly $412 billion, or 4.3%, in the fourth quarter of 2013—the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the February 2014 edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard.

The February Scorecard’s report, released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is the latest in the continued success story of rising home equity.

Since the beginning of 2012 homeowners’ equity has risen 60%, or more than $3.7 trillion, according to data from the Federal Reserve cited in the Scorecard.

Another highlight outlined in the February report included an increase in new home purchases. 

After declining two months, purchases of new homes rose 9.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 in January—the highest unit-pace since mid-2008 and 2.2% above sales in January 2013, according to HUD.

The Scorecard also shows the impact of the Obama Administration’s efforts to stabilize the housing market and provide relief to struggling homeowners, said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski in a statement. 

The Obama Administration provides this relief is via the Making Homeownership Affordable program and Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), programs that offer foreclosure mitigation and mortgage modifications to help keep homeowners living in their homes.

Over 1.9 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including more than 1.3 million permanent loan modifications through the Home Affordable Modifications Program, the February Scorecard notes.

To date, homeowners currently in HAMP have saved an estimated $25.5 billion in monthly mortgage payments, said Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler in a statement. 

“While the housing market as a whole has made significant progress, servicer still have room for improvement and the Treasury will continue to press the industry to improve servicer performance,” Bowler said.

Written by Jason Oliva

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