December Housing Scorecard Shows ‘Encouraging Signs’ Amid Fragile Recovery

Although there has been progress among many key indicators in the nation's housing market, the overall recovery remains fragile, says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, who have released the December edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard.

‘December's Housing Scorecard shows that we are continuing to make progress helping struggling homeowners get back on their feet,’ remarks Edward J. Szymanoski, associate deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs for HUD.

‘Since the beginning of 2012, the number of homeowners underwater has declined by 5.7 million, and homeowners' equity has risen by 55 percent to $9.7 trillion," he adds. "There remains more work to do to address the 6.4 million homeowners who remain underwater; nevertheless, these are encouraging signs that the housing market recovery is providing millions of American homeowners with more economic security."

"While the housing market continues to make progress, Treasury remains committed to helping homeowners who are still struggling to make their mortgage payments," says Tim Bowler, treasury acting assistant secretary of HUD.

"December's Making Home Affordable (MHA) report shows that nearly 1.3 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and the program has saved homeowners an estimated $24.2 billion to date in mortgage payments," Bowler continues.

HUD says that the following has been accomplished through Treasury's Second Lien Modification Program:

-More than 123,000 second lien modifications have been completed through the Second Lien Modification Program (2MP).

-Homeowners in 2MP with an active permanent modification save a median of $153 per month on their second mortgage, resulting in a median total first and second lien monthly payment reduction of $784, or 41% of their median before-modification payment.

-Homeowners who receive a full extinguishment of their second lien receive a median total first and second lien monthly payment reduction of $1,047, or 53% of their before-modification payment.

-Effective September 2013, Treasury expanded the 2MP program to include qualifying first liens that have been modified under the GSE Standard Modification requirements. When a borrower's first lien is modified under the GSE Standard Modification requirements and the first lien satisfies the HAMP eligibility criteria, the 2MP servicer must offer to modify or extinguish the borrower's second lien under 2MP.

HUD notes that the December Housing Scorecard also shows that home values continued to rise.

The full Housing Scorecard can be found here.


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