Home/Mortgages/December Housing Scorecard: Some Improvement but Still Fragile

January 19, 2012 (Chris Moore)

The housing market showed some subtle improvements over the last year according to the December release of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard but the overall market still remains fragile with a mixed outlook.

Loan performance deteriorated slightly in November with delinquencies on prime and sub-prime mortgages and FHA loans worsening during the month, but still much better than a year ago.

At the end of November, prime mortgages that were at least 30 days or more delinquent increased from 4.2 percent in October to 4.4 percent in November. In November of last year, the delinquency rate was 4.9 percent.

Performance of sub-prime mortgages also worsened slightly as the percentage of delinquent loans increased to 31.8 in November, up from 31.2 percent in October, but down from 35.7 percent posted a year earlier.

Delinquency rates of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) increased in November to 12.8 percent, up from 12.7 percent in October. The delinquency rate on FHA loans a year ago was 12.7 percent.

Seriously delinquent prime mortgages, those that are 90 days or more past due, were up slightly in November with 1.449 million loans in trouble, down from 1.443 million in October and also down from 1.590 million a year earlier.

Sub-prime mortgages that were seriously delinquent numbered 1.778 million in November, up slightly from 1.768 million in October. In November of last year, 1.823 million sub-prime mortgages were seriously delinquent.

Loans insured by the FHA that were seriously delinquent increased to 689,000 in November, up from 662,000 in October and also up from 589,000 in November 2010.

Since the beginning of the government’s mortgage assistance efforts in 2009 until the end of November 2011, over 5.5 million modification arrangements have been started. In November, 26,877 homeowners received a permanent loan modification through the Homeowner Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) while 19,059 trial modifications were started raising the total amount of all permanent modifications started to 909,953.

To date, homeowners that have received a permanent loan modification through HAMP saved a median of $529.785 per month on their mortgage payment, more than a one-third of their median before-modification payment.

HOPE NOW proprietary modifications increased in November to 56,948 modifications from 53,394 modifications in October.

Home prices were generally flat with two out of the three indices used in the Housing Scorecard posting very modest gains while one posted a slight decline through the end of October.

Sales of new homes increased by a seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent from October to November while sales of existing homes increased by a seasonally adjusted 4.0 percent.

The inventory of existing homes declined in November to a 7.0 months supply, down from a revised 7.7 months supply of homes for sale in October. New home inventory also decreased to a 6.0 months supply of inventory, down from a revised 6.2 months supply in October.

Foreclosure activity was a mixed bag in November with foreclosure starts declining 7.7 percent and foreclosure sales increasing 13.1 percent. Compared to a year ago, foreclosure starts and sales are down substantially with starts down 41.0 percent and foreclosure sales down 6.3 percent.

Raphael Bostic, Assistant Secretary of HUD, stated, “As we compare today’s data to market data from last year – and certainly from the economic conditions when we took office in 2009 – it’s clear that we’ve made important progress in recovering from this housing crisis. But with so many homeowners still struggling to pay their mortgages or move into more sustainable loans, we can not rest on our laurels. There is still a lot of work to do. That’s why the Obama Administration continues to push hard for effective implementation of our recovery programs to help more underwater borrowers and unemployed or underemployed homeowners stay in their homes whenever possible.”

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

Treasury Department