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Obama Scorecard: Housing market continues to improve, but risks linger

The latest data from the Obama Administration’s June Housing Scorecard reveals a strengthening housing market.

Yet, administration officials remain cautious, saying the recovery varies by region and is still fragile overall.

“The Obama Administration’s efforts to speed the housing recovery are showing continued progress as the June scorecard indicators highlight ongoing improvements throughout the housing market,” said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski.

He expanded saying, “Foreclosure starts and completions are down significantly from one year ago and since January 2012, rising home values have lifted 2.4 million homeowners back above water. That said, we remain cautious because although mortgage delinquencies are trending down, they still remain quite high compared to historic norms.”

Home prices continued to escalate after hitting their post-crisis level last month. The S&P Case-Shiller home price index rose from an index score of 148.7 in April to 152.4 in May. A year earlier, the same index score hovered at 136.

Existing-homes sales climbed higher to 431,700 units in May, up from 414,200 in April, according to data gathered from the National Association of Realtors.

Also on the rise, new home sales soared to 39,700 units in May compared to 38,800 in April and 30,800 a year prior, data from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD noted.

Housing supply experienced a slight dip, falling to a 5.1-month supply from a 5.2-month supply, NAR added. Meanwhile, the inventory of new homes ticked up to a 4.1-month supply.

The number of foreclosure starts plummeted from 72,700 starts in May to 57,300 in June, RealtyTrac reported.

Mortgage rates also continue to fluctuate, with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage inching down to 4.29%, compared to 4.46% in June, Freddie Mac said.

In addition, mortgage delinquency rates continued to fall for prime borrowers from 3.3% to 3.1%, based on Lender Processing Services statistics.

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