The Obama administration’s latest housing scorecard reflects an improving market, with rising home values taking homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008.
Homeowner equity jumped $406 billion, or 5.9%, to $7.28 trillion in the second quarter. The number of underwater borrowers has declined by 11% since the end of last year, from 12.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 10.8 million in the second quarter.
The inventory of existing homes for sale rose to to 2.47 million in August from 2.4 million in August, according to data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury.
Home prices grew to $144,600 on average for July, compared to $142,300 in the previous month, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller data cited in the scorecard.
New home sales totaled 31,100 in August, up from 24,300 a year earlier. And existing home sales hit 401,700, up from 367,500 in the year-ago period. First-time homebuyer numbers grew to 160,100 from 145,000 in August 2011, according to the scorecard.
Foreclosure tumbled to 99,400 in June from 114,500 the year before, according to the scorecard. Foreclosure completions, in contrast, fell during the same period to 54,200 from 64,800.
Mortgage originations for the purchase of new homes declined to 497,800 in the second quarter from 541,800 in the year-ago period. Refinance originations rose to 1.35 million from 869,100 in that period.
Mortgage delinquency rates fell to 3.8% from 4% the previous month, but are below last year’s rate of 4.4%.