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HUD Scorecard Delivers Mixed Results for Housing

An October ""HUD scorecard"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=OctNat2011_Scorecard.pdf released Thursday by the Obama administration portrayed the housing market as one beset by mixed circumstances over September and the months before.

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A still-heavy foreclosure glut matched with declining home values and prices left the market slightly worse for the wear in some areas.

""Housing data available through September underscore market fragility and paint a mixed picture of recovery,"" the report began.

Despite some progress claimed by the Obama administration, ""we have much more work to do to reach the many households who still face trouble and to help the market recover,"" ""HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/about/principal_staff/assistant_secretary_bostic said in a statement.

""To help responsible homeowners, we have to make it easier for people to refinance at interest rates that are now near 4% ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô putting hundreds of dollars in real savings back in their pockets each month, and giving a boost to our fragile economy,"" he added.

The report measured up home prices, home sales, and

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refinance originations, finding declines for some and stabilization for others.

The ""Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index"":http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff--p-us recorded home prices falling from approximately 148,000 in September last year to 142,000 this year.

New home sales stayed largely the same this year as compared with last year, hovering at around 26,000 over the time frame, while existing-home sales rose from approximately 365,000 last year to top 409,000 during the same month this year.

Mortgage refinance originations on record meanwhile fell from nearly 1.3 million in September last year to about 964,000 over the same time frame this year.

The findings track pending-home sales figures reported last week by the ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/ (NAR), which reported a 6.4-percent boost over September this year in contrast with numbers from the same time last year ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô still overwhelmingly weak, historically speaking.

""A combination of weak consumer confidence and continuing tight lending criteria held back home buyers, even though the private sector added nearly 2 million net new jobs in the past 12 months,"" ""Lawrence Yun"":http://www.realtor.org/research/chief_economist_bio, the trade group's chief economist, said of the pending-home sales figures in a statement.

A positive portrayal of efforts in housing by the Obama administration also met with less favorable consumer sentiment, with a recent ""Thomas Reuters/University of Michigan index"":http://thomsonreuters.com/products_services/financial/financial_products/a-z/umichigan_surveys_of_consumers/ finding pessimism among customers in October.

The survey found that 57 percent of all consumers regard current federal policies in an unfavorable light ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the highest ever assessed by the index. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported feeling less favorably toward the ""Federal Reserve"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/ that month.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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