The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) latest housing scorecard provides a snapshot of the recovery of our nation’s housing market during August, according to a recent report from the agency. HUD states that as they look back, the agency has witnessed notable progress among key indicators. These include a surge in new home sales, increasing home values, and a continued decline in foreclosure starts and completions. HUD states that although this scorecard notes that the housing market is on a healthy trajectory, they believe that the industry must still stay committed to helping American families and homeowners.
HUD dives deeper into these indicators so further assess the health of the housing market first noting that July purchases of new homes surged to the fastest pace since October 2007. The report states that additionally, new single-family home sales rose 12.4 percent in July to 654,000 (SAAR) and were up 31.3 percent over a year earlier.
The report also examines the indicator of increasing home values by noting that home prices were up again in June with annual house price changes remaining fairly stable in a 5- to 6-percent range. HUD cites that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index for June estimated that home values rose 0.2 percent over the previous month and 5.6 percent over the previous year. This was a slight decrease from an annual gain of 5.7 percent in May. In addition, the report states that the FHFA index shows that U.S. home values are now 3.5 percent above their previous peak set in March 2007 and stand 30.8 percent above the low point reached in March 2011.
The final key indicator that HUD explores is foreclosure starts and completions. The report notes that these rates continue to fall specifically citing how lenders started the public foreclosure process on 36,863 U.S. properties in July, and stating that this is a decrease of 5 percent from June and 19 percent from a year earlier. Likewise, HUD notes that newly initiated foreclosures have declined for the last four consecutive months and have been below the pre-crisis (2005 and 2006) monthly average of 52,280 since March 2015. The scorecard also shows that lenders completed the foreclosure process (bank repossessions or REOs) on 27,907 U.S. properties in July, which was a decrease of 8 percent from the previous month and 41 percent from a year ago. The report says that this is the fifth consecutive annual decline in foreclosure completions.
The report also takes the time to mention that the Administration’s programs continue to help struggling homeowners with nearly 10.8 million mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements completed between April 2009 and the end of July 2016. The report states that additionally, nearly 2.7 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program. This includes more than 1.6 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered nearly 3.3 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through July. HUD states that they believe these Administration programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with lenders offering families and individuals nearly 4.8 million proprietary modifications through June.
The report shares that while this reflects good news overall, they want to mention that the Administration remains committed to helping more Americans realize their dream of home ownership through an improving economy and new programs that will provide greater access to credit.