July 6, 2016

Measuring Progress in the Housing Market

New affordable homes in Orlando Florida April 2005

Our latest housing scorecard examines housing recovery data, our programs’ performance, and areas for improvement. As we look back on June, we saw continued progress in our nation’s housing recovery. The latest data show growth among key indicators: sales of existing homes reached their highest pace in more than nine years, a sharp gain in homeowners’ equity, and a steady increase in home values. 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 are some of the top trends:

  • Sales of previously owned (existing) homes climbed to the highest pace in more than nine years in May. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes (including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and cooperatives) rose 1.8 percent in May to 5.53 million (SAAR)—and are at their fastest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million). Sales were 4.5 percent higher than a year earlier. All Census Regions except the Midwest saw an increase in sales. Existing home sales have been above the 5.0 million mark for 14 of the past 15 months.
  • Homeowners’ equity continues to show sharp gains. Homeowners’ equity (total property value less mortgage debt outstanding) was up $461 billion (3.7%) from the fourth quarter of 2015, for a total of more than $13.0 trillion–the highest level since the first quarter of 2006—when it peaked at nearly $13.3 trillion. The increase in owners’ equity was $371 billion in the fourth quarter. 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 $6.8 trillion (+108%) and equity has grown by more than $6.5 trillion since the end of 2011. (Source: Federal Reserve).
  • Home prices continued an upward trend in April with annual house price changes remaining fairly stable in a 5- to 6-percent range. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index for April estimated home values rose 0.2 percent over the previous month and 5.9 percent over the previous year. The FHFA index shows that U.S. home values are now 3.1 percent above their previous peak set in March 2007 and stand 30.2 percent above the low point reached in March 2011.

The Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs continue to provide relief for millions of homeowners as the recovery from the housing crisis continues. In all, more than 10.5 million mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of May 2016.  More than 2.6 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including over 1.6 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 3.2 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through May. These Administration programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with lenders offering families and individuals more than 4.7 million proprietary modifications through April (data are reported with a two-month lag).

This is just a brief overview of the June 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 and Research.

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