Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released its April 2013 edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. According to a recent press release from HUD, the latest scorecard shows relevant progress in several key market health indicators, though officials caution that the overall recovery process is still at a fragile point.
“The Obama Administration’s efforts to speed the housing recovery are showing continued progress as the April scorecard indicators highlight ongoing improvements throughout the housing market,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. “The annual increase in home prices is the highest in nearly seven years and sales of existing and new homes are both up over 10 percent from one year ago. But with so many households still struggling to make ends meet, we have important work ahead.”
The two major points Usowski mentioned – increases in home prices and existing home sales – are both significant areas where the U.S. real estate market has made impressive strides. Not too long ago, home prices were depressed due to a large inventory of distressed homes, lower buyer demand and plummeting economic health. Now, home values are once again on the rise and seem to be continuing along their upward path.
Additionally, the scorecard showed positive results for a number of the government programs in place to assist homeowners and make home ownership affordable.
“The Administration’s programs have improved outcomes for homeowners by setting new standards for mortgage assistance and putting into place unprecedented consumer protections. HAMP continues to offer struggling families meaningful relief to avoid foreclosure and strengthen local communities.” -Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad.
As a special feature in April’s scorecard, the Administration provided a regional spotlight on the market strength in the New York metro area. Why New York? Because this major metro didn’t exactly follow suit with the way the rest of the nation’s housing markets changed. According to the HUD press release, the foreclosure crisis in the NY metropolitan area developed later and differently than in other areas of the nation. While home price appreciation during the housing bubble grew more rapidly than it did nationally, home prices in the region did not fall as sharply.
“The New York housing market is seeing the same signs of greater stability that the national data show for the broader housing market,” said Usowski. “As this Regional Spotlight reports, the Administration’s efforts have helped nearly 231,600 New York metropolitan area households avoid foreclosure. A strong local economic recovery is underway despite the impact of Hurricane Sandy, but we have much more to do to reach the many households who still face trouble and to help the New York market recover more broadly.”
A few highlights from the New York Regional Spotlight:
- Economic and housing market conditions in the New York metropolitan area are improving. The unemployment rate for the region peaked at 9.3 percent in February 2010 and has since fallen to 8.4 percent as of March 2013. The share of distressed mortgages remains high; however, the rate of completed foreclosures has remained well below the national rate.
- The Administration’s Hardest Hit Fund and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs have aided local foreclosure prevention efforts and market stability, while nearly 231,600 households have received mortgage modifications, many directly through programs from the Obama Administration. Approximately $110 million has been awarded to the New York metropolitan region through HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help purchase or redevelop residential properties and address the effects of abandoned and foreclosed housing. Additionally, the Treasury gave $300 million to the State of New Jersey to provide relief to struggling homeowners through the Hardest Hit Fund. As demand for the program grew, the number of homeowners who benefited continued to increase.Both programs have helped provide increased stability to the New York housing market.
- Despite the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy on communities and homeowners, the overall economic impact on the job market and employment in the region show an immediate spike in jobless claims and a drop in total employment after the storm, both of which rebounded quickly. Total employment in the New York metropolitan area, which fell by 32,000 jobs in November, increased by 53,200 in December to exceed total employment just before the storm. This indicates that, when it comes to employment, things are not only getting back on track – they may even be better than before.
Follow this link to read the full Housing Scorecard: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/initiatives/Housing_Scorecard