The housing market recovery continues to grow stronger, but the economy remains “fragile,” according to the Obama administration’s latest Housing Scorecard for January. The Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard is released monthly, providing a snapshot of the nation’s housing market.
“The housing market has clearly bottomed out nationally and is turning a corner with new home construction increasing to a level not seen since June 2008 and home prices showing strong annual gains,” says Kurt Usowski, deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “But with so many households still struggling, we have important work ahead.”
Government efforts to help struggling home owners avoid foreclosure are improving. Nearly 1.5 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, and the Federal Housing Administration has offered more than 1.5 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions.
“Every foreclosure avoided has positive impacts for families, communities, and our economy,” says Tim Massad, Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability.
Also, the number of underwater borrowers continues to fall while home prices improve. Home owners who owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth account for 10.67 million borrowers, which is down from 10.78 million in the previous quarter, according to CoreLogic.
The inventory of existing homes for sale continues to drop, reaching a 4.4 months’ supply, according to National Association of REALTORS®’ data. In November, the supply of housing averaged 5.3 months.
Fewer homes are being sold due to limited inventories. Existing home sales fell to 411.7 million in January from 415.8 million in December.