The overall housing market remained mostly unchanged between November and December according to the January release of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard but continued to show improvement over conditions from a year ago.

Mortgage delinquency rates on prime, sub-prime and FHA mortgages remained relatively stable in December with the delinquency rate of prime mortgages that were at least 30 days or more delinquent unchanged from November at 4.0 percent. In December of last year, the delinquency rate was 4.4 percent.

Performance of sub-prime mortgages posted a modest improvement as the percentage of delinquent loans dipped to 30.3 percent from 30.4 percent in November and was down from 32.5 percent posted a year earlier.

Delinquency rates of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) increased slightly, rising to 11.8 percent in November from 11.7 percent in October. The delinquency rate on FHA loans a year earlier was 12.8 percent.

Seriously delinquent mortgages, those that are 90 days or more past due, improved in two of the three categories with the number of prime mortgages in trouble declining to 1.178 million loans in December, down from 1.188 million in November and down from 1.458 million a year earlier.

Sub-prime mortgages that were seriously delinquent numbered 1.519 million in December, down from 1.559 million in November. In December of last year, 1.747 million sub-prime mortgages were seriously delinquent.

Loans insured by the FHA that were seriously delinquent increased to 735,000 in November, up from 734,000 in October, and were 6.7 percent higher than the 689,000 delinquent loans in November 2011.

Loan originations for home purchases in the fourth quarter of 2012 increased by 14.2 percent from the third quarter and were 14.7 percent higher than at the same time last year while refinance originations were down 5.4 percent from the third to the fourth quarter and were down 8.2 percent from the fourth quarter of last year.

FHA refinance loan originations were down 16.3 percent from November to December but were still up 23.5 percent from a year earlier while FHA purchase loan originations were up 2.1 percent between November and December and were down 7.6 percent from a year ago.

Home prices were improved compared to a year ago with all three of the indices used in the Housing Scorecard, Core-Logic, FHFA and the Case-Shiller Indices, posting pricing gains from the previous year, but showed little improvement from month-to-month.

Sales of new homes fell a seasonally adjusted 7.2 percent from November to December while sales of existing homes declined by 1.0 percent between the two months.

Distressed property sales accounted for 26 percent of all re-sales in November, up from 24 percent in October, but were down from 28 percent the previous year.

The inventory of existing homes listed for sell declined by 8.5 percent with the number of months supply falling to 4.4 months in December from a 4.8 months supply in November. The supply of new homes for sale increased from 4.5 months at the end of the November to 4.9 months by the end of December.

Foreclosure activity was improved in December with foreclosure starts declining 6.5 percent and foreclosure sales falling by 10.1 percent. Compared to a year ago, foreclosure starts were down 15.8 percent while sales were down by 14.1 percent.

The estimated number of homeowners whose homes are worth less than what they owed declined to 10.7 million at the end of the third quarter of 2012 from 10.8 million at the end of the second quarter.

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


Reported by Chris Moore