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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market
Real Estate

Housing report card filled with 'cautious' grades

The housing market is strengthening, with home prices continuing to rise and home sales remaining strong, but there are large regional differences and the economic recovery remains fragile, according to the June edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard, a report on the nation's housing market.

"Foreclosure starts and completions are down significantly from one year ago; and since January 2012, rising home values have lifted 2.4 million home owners back above water," said Kurt Usowski, HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs. "That said, we remain cautious because although mortgage delinquencies are trending down, they still remain quite high compared to historic norms."

The mortgage delinquency rate among prime borrowers is 3.1 percent compared to 3.9 percent a year ago. Among subprime borrowers the rate is 28.7 percent-down only slightly from 28.8 percent a year ago.

"Given the current fragility and recognizing that recovery will take place over time, the administration remains committed to its efforts to prevent avoidable foreclosures and stabilize the housing market," according to the June Housing Scorecard.

The Housing Scorecard also provides a monthly snapshot of how the administration's programs for aiding home owners have been performing. The scorecard showed that more than 1.6 million homeowners have received assistance through the Making Home Affordable Program. More than 1.2 million permanent loan modifications were made through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), posting an average savings of about 39 percent on monthly mortgage payments.

Homeowners have saved about $547 on their monthly mortgage payments through HAMP, according to the scorecard. Since April 2009, 21.6 million owners have refinanced their mortgage and taken advantage of low mortgage rates, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Also, the Federal Housing Administration has assisted in more than 1.8 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, according to the June scorecard.

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