Many experts have noted that there have been massive improvements in the nationwide housing market in the last year, and the latest data from the federal government continues to bear that out.
Nationwide, home prices rose considerably in the 12-month period ending December 31, as data from both the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Case-Shiller showed improvements of 5.6 and 4.3 percent, respectively, according to the latest Obama Administration Housing Scorecard released monthly by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Further, other federal data showed that government efforts to staunch housing troubles continued to be successful.
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Through end of November 2012, more than six million Americans who were struggling with underwater mortgages have received some sort of relief in the form of mortgage modifications and refinances since the programs started in April 2009, the report said. That included more than 81,000 loan terms altered under the Home Affordable Refinance Program in October alone, which brought the overall total for the program in 2012 to 790,600.
Similarly, more than 1.4 million homeowners have received assistance in avoiding foreclosure through the Making Home Affordable Program, and another 1.5 million have received loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through the Federal Housing Administration, the report said. Further, 1.1 million homeowners have received permanent mortgage modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program. The average consumer who went through that program saved $544 on their average mortgage payments every month, totaling some $16.7 billion in reduced bills since the program began, and in November alone, 77 percent of eligible homeowners received principal reductions through HAMP.
“The Administration’s programs to prevent foreclosure have helped millions of families stay in their homes and prompted critical changes in the way the mortgage industry assists struggling homeowners, which have helped our country recover faster from an unprecedented housing crisis,” said Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability Tim Massad.
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Experts say that rising home prices will encourage more current homeowners to put their properties on the market once they’re out from under the negative equity, which they may have been struggling with for years. That, in turn, could lead to more transactions nationwide, and engender broader improvements than those already seen throughout the industry. However, experts also expect home value growth to slow somewhat in 2013.
Image: Cassandra Gallegos-Moore, via Flickr