Obama housing scorecard: Robo-signing takes hold of market in November

The housing market felt the effects of the robo-signing scandal in November as foreclosure starts and completions fell significantly, according to the Obama administration’s November 2010 housing scorecard. Foreclosure activity dropped 21% during the month; however, the drop is likely to be temporary as lenders review and resubmit foreclosure affidavits, the scorecard noted. The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury Department compiled data for the monthly scorecard. Housing remained extremely affordable in November, as mortgage interest rates hovered near record lows. But the housing market “remains fragile,” the scorecard said, because of unsettled home prices nationwide. The median existing-home sale price in November was $170,600, according to the National Association of Realtors. Prices were as low as $134,900 in Las Vegas last month, a 22.9% drop from the month prior. More than 3.9 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of October 2010 — more than double the number of foreclosure completions during that time. These included more than 1.4 million trial Home Affordable Modification Program starts, more than 600,000 Federal Housing Administration loss-mitigation and early-delinquency interventions, and more than 1.8 million proprietary modifications under Hope Now. HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic commended the administration on its efforts to offer alternatives to foreclosure, but acknowledged that there is still more work to be done. “Since taking office in 2009, the administration’s efforts have helped millions families stay in their homes and helped millions more refinance, but the data clearly show that the market remains extremely fragile,” Bostic said. “That’s why we’re continuing to focus on successfully implementing the programs we’ve put in place — such as additional refinancing assistance and emergency loans to help unemployed homeowners — and ensuring that help is available to homeowners as early as possible.” Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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