August 2, 2016

Measuring Progress in the Housing Market

Photo: Row of homes.

HUD’s housing scorecard provides a monthly snapshot of our nation’s housing market and how our initiatives are serving Americans. As we look back on July, we witnessed progress among key indicators including a rebound in purchases of new homes, a continued increase in existing home sales, and a dip in mortgage rates to another three-year low.  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:

  • Purchases of new homes rebounded in June. New single-family home sales rose 3.5 percent in June to 592,000 (SAAR), reaching the highest pace since February 2008. New home purchases have risen or remained the same for the past four consecutive months and were up 25.4 percent over a year earlier. Monthly data on new home sales can be volatile and are often revised. (Source: HUD and Census Bureau).
  • Sales of previously owned (existing) homes, boosted by sales to new home buyers, rose for the fourth consecutive month. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported that sales of existing homes (including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and cooperatives) rose 1.1 percent in June to 5.57 million (SAAR)—and are at their fastest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million). Sales were 3.0 percent higher than a year earlier and the share of first-time homebuyers, at 33 percent, was the highest since July 2012. Existing home sales have been above the 5.0 million mark now for 15 of the past 16 months.
  • Mortgage rates hit another three-year low in July. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.41 percent for the week ending July 7, 2016, down from 3.97 percent at the start of the year and the lowest level since the beginning of May 2013 (3.35 percent). The average weekly 30-year fixed rate is now only 10 basis points above the lowest recorded rate of 3.31 percent in November 2012. (Source: Freddie Mac; historical data since 1971).

The Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs continue to provide relief for millions of homeowners as the recovery from the housing crisis continues. In all, nearly 10.7 million mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of June 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 nearly 3.3 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through June. These Administration programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with lenders offering families and individuals nearly 4.8 million proprietary modifications through May (data are reported with a two-month lag).

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

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