April 8, 2015

Measuring Progress in the Housing Market

Photo:  Construction workers building a home.

Our most recent housing scorecard provides a closer look at the recovery of our nation’s housing market and the success of the Administration’s programs. While we’re seeing important progress, many American families and homeowners continue to recover from the Great Recession. The latest data show progress among key indicators, including a sharp increase in new home sales, stabilizing home prices, and growing strength in homeowner’s equity.

Here’s a closer look:

  • Purchases of new homes in February climbed at the fastest pace in seven years despite severe weather.  Purchases of new homes rose 7.8 percent from a month earlier to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 539,000 in February. This was 24.8 percent higher than a year earlier and the strongest pace since February 2008.
  • House prices showed year-over-year gains continuing to stabilize in January. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index for January showed home values rose 0.3 percent over the previous month and 5.1 percent over the previous year. The FHFA index shows that U.S. home values now stand just 3.5 percent below their previous peak in March 2007.
  • Homeowners’ Equity continues to rise. Homeowners’ equity (total property value less mortgage debt outstanding) was up nearly $260 billion (2.4 percent) from the third quarter, reaching nearly $11.3 trillion, the highest level since the second quarter of 2007. The change in equity since April 1, 2009, when the Administration initiated its broad set of actions to stabilize the housing market, now stands at nearly $5.1 trillion (+82.2 percent). (Source: Federal Reserve).

The Administration’s programs continue to help struggling homeowners. More than 9.3 million mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of February 2015, including more than 2.3 million homeowner assistance actions through the Making Home Affordable Program, nearly 2.7 million through the Federal Housing Administration’s loss mitigation programs, and over 4.3 million proprietary modifications through January (data are reported with a two-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 March Housing Scorecard. For more information about the health of the housing market and how Administration programs are helping families please visit: www.hud.gov/scorecard.

Katherine O’ Regan is the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.

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