Although there are positive overall trends in housing – including growing equity and a rebound in sales of new and existing homes – more work needs to be done as the economy recovers from the Great Recession, according to the June edition of the Obama administration's Housing Scorecard.
Released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the scorecard features data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the administration's foreclosure prevention programs.
"The June Housing Scorecard shows the housing market continues to make progress as we move into the summer months," says Katherine O'Regan, HUD's assistant secretary for policy development and research. "Sales of new and existing homes are up, equity continues to grow, and foreclosures starts continue trending down."
"Although the housing market continues to improve, Treasury remains committed to helping homeowners who are still struggling to make their mortgage payments," adds Tim Bowler, Treasury's acting assistant secretary. "To date, more than 1.3 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program, saving an estimated $28.2 billion in mortgage payments."
The scorecard gives the following data on housing trends:
Purchases of new homes surged by 18.6% in May. New home sales rebounded to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 504,000 in May, following sales of 425,000 in April, and were up 16.9% from one year before. Purchases of new homes rose in May by the biggest monthly gain in 22 years (since January 1992) and to the highest level since May 2008, indicating that home sales are rebounding from a severe-weather-induced lull during the previous two quarters.
Sales of previously owned (existing) homes rose again in May after a lackluster performance in the previous two quarters. The National Association of Realtors reported that existing homes, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and cooperatives, sold at a SAAR of 4.89 million in May – up 4.9% from April – but remain 5.0% below the 5.15 million pace a year earlier.
Foreclosure starts continued their downward trend. Lenders started the public foreclosure process on 49,240 U.S. properties in May, down 10% from the previous month and down 32% from one year ago, to the lowest level since December 2005.
Foreclosure completions also fell in May. Lenders completed the foreclosure process on 28,373 U.S. properties in May, down 6% from the previous month and down 27% from one year ago, to the lowest level since July 2007.
The full Housing Scorecard is available here.