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HUD Emphasizes Passing Grades in Scorecard

by Chicago Agent

Though HUD's housing scorecard was mixed in its assessment of housing, it did highlight a number of government initiatives.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the September edition of the White House’s “Housing Scorecard” yesterday, highlighting the positive trends in housing prices and refinancing options and other notable government initiatives.

Raphael Bostic, a HUD assistant secretary, said that though the newest scorecard was encouraging, it still highlights the work that must be done to shore up housing.

“We’re encouraged by the continued decline in mortgage defaults and recent trend in home prices, but we have much more work to do to help the market recover and to reach the many households across the nation who still face trouble,” Bostic said, emphasizing the need for more homeowners to have easier access to refinancing.

Home prices and refinancing garnered particular attention in the scorecard. HUD noted that though August home prices improved for the fourth consecutive month, complementary data shows continued strain from foreclosures and distressed sales. Foreclosure completions continued a downward trend, as mortgage aid programs are helping homeowners, although some of the decline remains due to lender processing issues delaying some foreclosure actions.

On the refinancing front, more than 5.1 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of August 2011, including nearly 1.7 million Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) trial modification starts and more than 2.4 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now.

In August, more than 26,000 additional homeowners received a permanent modification through HAMP, and more than 816,000 homeowners across the country have received a HAMP permanent modification to date, saving a median of $525 per month.

The scorecard also directed particular attention on Cleveland, an area that has received notable attention from the White House’s housing initiatives.

For instance, through August 2011, approximately 32,000 mortgage assistance interventions have been offered to homeowners in the Cleveland metropolitan area, nearly twice the number of foreclosures during that period (16,200). Additionally, Ohio has received a $570 million allocation from the Administration’s Hardest Hit Fund to help families dealing with a permanent or temporary loss of income avoid foreclosure, and more than $90 million has been awarded to eight local jurisdictions through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help purchase or redevelop residential properties and address the effects of abandoned and foreclosed housing

“Our Regional Spotlight shows that Cleveland was, in many ways, an early warning of the crisis that rippled across the nation,” Bostic said. “However, we also show how the Administration’s approach to stabilizing the housing market has been a source of real help to local families, helping more than 32,000 homeowners to avoid foreclosure.”

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