February 8, 2016

Measuring Progress in the Housing Market

Photo: Row of homes.

HUD’s January Housing Scorecard takes a deeper look at the recovery of our nation’s housing market at the end of 2015. As we look back, we witnessed notable progress among key indicators: a surge in new home sales, a revival in existing home sales, and a drop in mortgage delinquencies. While our housing market is on a healthy trajectory, it’s clear we must continue to support programs that help more Americans recover from the Great Recession.

Here’s a closer look at the trends in some of the top indicators:

  • Purchases of new homes surged in December, ending the strongest year since 2007. New home sales increased 10.8 percent to 544,000 (SAAR) in December—a ten-month high—and were 9.9 percent higher than a year earlier. New home sales were at or above the 500,000 mark for 7 months in 2015.
  • Sales of previously owned (existing) homes rebounded in December to close out the best year since 2006. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes (including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and cooperatives) soared 14.7 percent in December—the highest increase on record—to 5.46 million (SAAR) from 4.76 million units in November. For all of 2015, sales were 5.26 million, up 6.5 percent from 4.94 million in 2014.
  • 2015 ends on a good note for mortgage delinquencies. According to Black Knight Financial Services, the number of delinquent prime mortgage loans was down 16.7 percent for the year ending December 2015, and the number of delinquent subprime mortgages dropped 14.8 percent from a year earlier. Seriously delinquent prime and subprime mortgages were down 29.1 percent and 32.1 percent, respectively, from the end of 2014.

The Administration’s programs continue to help struggling homeowners. In all, more than 10.2 million mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of December 2015. More than 2.5 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including nearly 1.6 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered nearly 3.1 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through December. These Administration programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with lenders offering families and individuals more than 4.6 million proprietary modifications through November (data are reported with a two-month lag).

While this reflects 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 January 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 the Office of Policy Development & Research.

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