White House data details fragility of housing
Housing remained extremely affordable in March, as mortgage interest rates hovered near record lows. Yet the housing market remains fragile, due to conflicting information on home prices nationwide, according to data released Friday by the White House. Delinquencies on prime mortgages declined to 4.2% from 5.9% one year prior, the information reveals. Subprime and Federal Housing Administration delinquencies also dropped against the year-ago period, down to 32.3% and 10.6%, respectively. The Obama administration released April's Housing Scorecard Friday, detailing housing data and trends from March compiled from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury Department. More than 73,000 foreclosures were completed during March, while 73,400 properties received a notice of default and 93,200 received a notice of foreclosure sale. These figures are down 20.1%, 37.5%, and 41%, respectively from March 2010. Yet foreclosure completions and notices of default rose between February and March 2011, up 13.3% and 16.1%, respectively. The average home sale price fell 3.3% during February, according to the latest Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index. The data show only the Washington D.C. witnessed price gains. On the other hand, median home prices and home inventory levels are up slightly in 24 of the 26 metropolitan real estate markets tracked by Altos Research. More than 4.5 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of March — more than double the number of completed foreclosures during the 11 months. These included more than 1.5 million trial Home Affordable Modification Program starts, more than 808,000 FHA loss-mitigation and early-delinquency interventions, and more than 2.2 million proprietary modifications under Hope Now. "The numbers of homeowners both entering HAMP and converting from trial to permanent modifications each month are a powerful reminder of the role this program is playing in delivering much-needed assistance to families facing a housing market that is still very tough," Acting Assistant Secretary For Financial Stability Tim Massad said. "And by providing modifications that are sustainable for homeowners over time, HAMP is setting standards for the industry that ultimately mean more options for more families to avoid foreclosure." Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.