Home/Mortgages/April Housing Scorecard: Prices Stable, Mortgage Delinquencies Improving

May 10, 2012 (Chris Moore)

The overall outlook for the housing market continued to show signs of stability according to the April release of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard as home prices and sales remained at aboutthe same levels they have been at for most of the winter while Americans continued to show an increased ability to pay for their mortgages as overall loan performance continued to improve.

Mortgage delinquency rates on prime, sub-prime and FHA mortgages fell on a monthly and yearly basis for the fourth consecutive month in March.

At the end of March, the delinquency rate of prime mortgages that were at least 30 days or more delinquent was 3.8 percent, down from 4.2 percent in February. In March of last year, the delinquency rate was 4.4 percent.

Performance of sub-prime mortgages also improved as the percentage of delinquent loans fell to 28.6 percent from 29.9 percent in February and down from 34.3 percent posted a year earlier.

Delinquency rates of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also declined, falling to 11.4 percent in March, down from 12.1 percent in February. The delinquency rate on FHA loans a year ago was 14.3 percent.

Seriously delinquent prime mortgages, those that are 90 days or more past due, declined in March with 1.405 million loans in trouble, down from 1.438 million in February but up from 915,000 a year earlier.

Sub-prime mortgages that were seriously delinquent numbered 1.670 million in March, down from a revised 1.707 million in February. In March of last year, 1.632 million sub-prime mortgages were seriously delinquent.

Loans insured by the FHA that were seriously delinquent fell to 708,000 in March, down from 724,000 in February, but up substantially from 333,000 in March 2011.

HOPE NOW proprietary loan modifications increased slightly in March, climbling to 46,494 modifications from 44,549 modifications in February and despite all the hoopla over the changes in the HARP program, HARP refinances in February fell by almost 12,000.

Home prices through the end of February were generally flat with two out of the three indices used in the Housing Scorecard, Core-Logic and FHFA, posting slight increases while the Case-Shiller Indices posted a slight decline. Prices in two of the three Indices were down from a year ago.

Sales of new homes declined by a seasonally adjusted 7.1 percent from February to March while sales of existing homes were revised and fell by a seasonally adjusted 2.6 percent.

The inventory of existing homes remained unchanged from the previous month with a 6.3 months supply of homes available for purchase. New home inventory increased to a 5.3 months supply of inventory, up from a revised 5.0 months supply in February.

Foreclosure activity was mixed in March with foreclosure starts increasing 9.8 percent but foreclosure sales fell by 6.1 percent. Compared to a year ago, foreclosure starts and sales are down with starts down 11.9 percent and foreclosure sales down 15.1 percent.

The estimated number of homeowners whose homes are worth less than what they owed increased to 11.1 million at the end of the 4th quarter of 2011 from 10.7 million at the end of the third quarter.

Raphael Bostic, Assistant Secretary of HUD, stated, “We’re making important progress in providing relief to homeowners under the Obama Administration’s programs. With fewer borrowers falling behind on their mortgages and almost half a million families taking advantage of our enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program – standing to save on average $2,500 per year – it’s clear that the Administration’s efforts continue to provide significant positive benefits. But with so many homeowners still struggling to pay their mortgages or move into more sustainable loans, we cannot rest on our laurels. That is why we are asking the Congress to approve the President’s refinancing proposal so that more homeowners can receive assistance.”

Tags: April Housing Scorecard, Obama Administration, loan modifications, mortgage delinquencies, trial modifications, prime mortgages, sub-prime mortgages, FHA