March 10, 2015

Measuring Progress in the Housing Market

Photo: Construction workers build a home.

HUD’s February housing scorecard provides a closer look at the recovery of our nation’s housing market. While this scorecard notes that the housing market is on a strong trajectory, it’s clear we must stay committed to helping American families and homeowners who continue to recover from the Great Recession. The latest data show progress among key indicators, including growing strength in new home sales and stabilizing home prices.

Here’s a look back at our progress:

  • Purchases of new homes held close to the fastest pace in more than six years. New home sales in January, at 481,000, were little changed (-0.2 percent) from the December pace of 482,000, the strongest since June 2008. January sales were also 5.3 percent higher than a year earlier. There was a disparity of sales among regions that was probably influenced by unusually severe inclement weather.
  • House prices showed year-over-year gains continuing to stabilize in December. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index for December showed home values rose 0.8 percent over the previous month and 5.4 percent over the previous year. The year-over-year house price gain in December was slightly higher than the 5.2 percent gain recorded in November and is the second consecutive month of acceleration in annual prices.
  • Foreclosure starts continue their annual downward trend. Lenders started the public foreclosure process on 48,838 U.S. properties in January, down 18 percent from the previous month and down 15 percent from a year earlier

The Administration’s programs continue to help struggling homeowners. Nearly 9.3 million mortgage modification and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of January 2015, including more than 2.3 million homeowner assistance actions through the Making Home Affordable Program, more than 2.6 million through the Federal Housing Administration’s loss mitigation programs, and over 4.3 million proprietary modifications through December (data are reported with a 2-month lag).

Although there is good news overall, 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.

This is just a brief overview of the February Housing Scorecard. For more information about the health of the housing market and how Administration programs are helping families please visit:

Katherine O’Regan is the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy Development & Research.

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