Upbeat Scorecard Ushers Housing Finance Reform

August 12, 2013

Many key indicators in housing are showing signs of strengthening, from home prices to purchases of new homes and sales of existing homes, according to the Obama Administration’s July Housing Scorecard. The Department of Housing and Urban Development cited the positive news as a good place to start to scale down the government's involvement in housing finance.

“The annual home price increases over the last several months remain at levels not seen since 2006 and newly initiated foreclosures are at their lowest level since December 2005,” says Kurt Usowski, HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs. “As we regain stability in our housing markets, it is time to begin the process of reforming the housing finance system to reduce the federal government footprint and ensure that private capital takes a sustainable central role.”

New-home purchases as of June were up 38 percent over year-ago levels, reaching their highest point in five years, according to the report. Sales of existing-homes also have posted strong gains, up 15 percent in June compared to June 2012. 

The report, however, warns that overall progress remains fragile. The administration’s Making Home Affordable Program has helped more than 1.7 million home owners through permanent loan modifications and early delinquency interventions, according to the report. Home owners who have undergone permanent loan modifications through the HAMP program have saved, on average, about $547 per month on their mortgage payments—a 39 percent savings from their previous payment. 

Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Read more

Obama Administration Still Wary on Recovery