Though the skies above the housing market appear to be clearing, the July edition of the Obama administration's Housing Scorecard warns of another storm to come.[IMAGE]
""HUD"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD and ""Treasury Department"":http://www.treasury.gov/Pages/default.aspx released the latest scorecard Friday, providing a look at a market in recovery but threatened by an expected increase in foreclosure activity.
According to the report, foreclosure starts and completions both declined in June, painting a picture of continued recovery. However, officials expect foreclosure activity to pick up in coming months as firms lift delays in foreclosure processing.
In addition, the inventory of houses for sale remained low. The current supply of existing homes on the market is 6.6 months, while the supply of new homes is 4.9 months. Experts consider six months to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
While the market is still in a fragile state, the situation is looking up for struggling homeowners. According to the scorecard, more than 1.2 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the administration's Making Home Affordable Program.
For its part, FHFA has also contributed by offering more than 1.4 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions.
""This month's indicators show momentum not seen since before the housing crisis as refinances through our enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program continue to surge-HARP loans represented 20 percent of total refinance volume in May, the largest increase since the program was launched in 2009,"" said Erika Poethig, acting assistant secretary at HUD.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""But with so many households still struggling to make ends meet, it's clear that we have more work ahead,"" she said. ""That is why we are asking the Congress to approve the President's refinancing proposal so that more homeowners can receive assistance.""
Homeowners involved in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) also fared well, with more than one million homeowners saving an estimated 13.9 billion on mortgage payments through permanent HAMP modifications.
In June, 75 percent of homeowners with non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with HAMP modifications, while 86 percent who started the program in the last two years received a permanent modification.
The scorecard showed that HAMP modifications continued to exhibit lower delinquency and re-default rates than private industry mods, with 94 percent of homeowners still current on modified payments after half a year.
The Housing Scorecard also put a focus on market strength in Miami and surrounding communities. The Miami metro was hit particularly hard in the housing downturn.
While economic conditions have improved in the metro, the housing market is still dealing with high concentrations of distressed mortgages, large numbers of vacancies, and nearly half of home mortgages underwater.
Administration programs have helped more than 147,500 Miami households receive mortgage modifications. The number of times assistance has been offered in the MSA is nearly 50 percent higher than the number of completed foreclosures since April 2009.
""The fragile signs of stability that the national data show for the broader housing market are even more delicate in the Miami market,"" said Poethig. ""The Administration is working hard to help all homeowners who have been hit hard during the crisis and, as this Regional Spotlight shows, our efforts have helped more than 147,000 Miami households to avoid foreclosure. A modest local economic recovery is underway, but we have much more to do to reach the many households who still face trouble and to help the Miami market recover.""