LIVE BLOGGING Release of August Housing Scorecard


HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic and Treasury Assistant Secretary Herb Allison release figures from the third edition of the Administration’s monthly scorecard on the nation’s housing market.

The scorecard, used to measure the current housing climate, incorporates key housing market indicators and the Administration’s housing recovery efforts, including borrowers assisted through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

August 2010 Scorecard on Administration’s Comprehensive Housing Initiative

From the scorecard report:
The President’s housing market recovery efforts began immediately after taking office in February 2009. As of August 2010, the Administration’s comprehensive response, as outlined above, has yielded the following results:

  • Stabilizing housing prices drive improving expectations in some regions: After 30 straight months of decline, home
    prices have leveled off in the past year; futures indices have shifted upward since January 2009 as signs of recovery continue although overall housing outlook measures remain mixed.
  • Historic low rates continue to promote affordability: Families continue to benefit from the lowest rates in history on 30-year fixed mortgages. Since April of 2009, record low rates have helped 7.1 million homeowners refinance, resulting in more stable home prices and $12.7 billion in total borrower savings.
  • There have been more than twice as many modification arrangements begun compared to foreclosure completions: Over 3.15 million modification arrangements were done from April 2009 through the end of June 2010. This includes over 1.3 million trial HAMP modifications started, over 472,000 FHA loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and 1.4 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. The number of agreements offered
    continues to more than double foreclosure completions for the same period (1.24 million).
  • More than 4.2 million families have benefited from housing counseling since April 2009: Working with a HUD-approved housing counselor can help borrowers manage debts apart from a mortgage – car payments, credit cards and personal loans, for example – and help them to avoid falling into default.
  • More than 37,000 homeowners received a HAMP permanent modification in July: While the pace of program
    entry has slowed due to upfront documentation requirements in place since June 1, this policy change streamlines the process to help more eligible homeowners convert to a permanent modification. Homeowners in permanent modifications are experiencing a median payment reduction of 36 percent, or more than $500 per month.

View the July Making Home Affordable program report at:

11:10AM CST Question and Answer

Q: All other data and reports I’m looking at indicate that the market is not doing well and we aren’t in a period of stability. What data are you using to make statements about hope and stability?
A: Bostic: Let’s just be clear, when the administration took office, the housing market and economy were pretty much in free fall and through the course of the following 18 months that free fall was stemmed. You shouldn’t misinterpret what I’m saying as that we’re out of the woods, I’m not saying that.

Q: There have been high cancellation rates in some of your loan modification programs. Are the numbers in the current programs where they are expected to stay?
A: Allison: Looking back at when trial modification programs started many of the people entered were looking for immediate relief…and after careful review these aid mods are being decided and you’re seeing high cancellations because people that entered the programs did not meet certain qualifications and there are a number of reasons for why they didn’t get a HAMP mod, but most of these people are still being assisted.

Before the HAMP program was introduced most people paid more, not less and this became the standard for the industry’s own proprietary mod. We need to get the banks and servers to develop an industry standard for helping people in distress.

These people aren’t simply being dropped from HAMP they were either not eligible or not making the payments they are required to make or they dropped out…the reasons are all within the rules and most of these people are still getting relief.

Anybody who’s eligible for a modification should get a modification.

Bostic: We recognize that there still is fragility in this market.

11AM CST Conference call begins, quick remarks from Bostic and Allison

HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic
The housing scorecard is designed to provide broad context for what’s going on in the housing market.
Top line summary statements:

Great deal more stability in the housing market in terms of housing prices than before the Administration’s efforts were started.
Interest rates are at historic lows, and those low rates will be an important incentive and tool for people to access housing and home ownership in a very affordable way.

These programs have touched a lot of people. I wanted to emphasize that a lot of the things we have done have touched a significantly larger number of people that have been in foreclosure, that’s not to say foreclosure isn’t an issue, but the actions that this administration has taken has shaped the market and helped create some stability.

When we say stability we aren’t being “Pollyanna-ish” about it, there are still problems.

Treasury Assistant Secretary Herb Allison
Number of HAMP modifications is now double the number of foreclosure sales (including jumbo loans)
Making Home affordable programs have reached eligible homeowners at no expense to tax payers.
Hardest Hit Fund reaches out to unemployed.
Responsible homeowners have chance to modify mortgages.