Housing market trends continue to show improvement in February as housing prices stabilize and foreclosure starts decrease to 2005 levels, according to the March installment of the Obama administration's Housing Scorecard, a monthly report that aggregates various mortgage and housing industry data.
As of January 2014, the Federal Housing Finance Agency purchase-only house price index rose 7.4% compared to 2013, showing that "home values are on par with prices in mid-2005." Meanwhile, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for January was up 13.2% year-over-year as home values returned to their mid-2004 levels.
The scorecard, released Friday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of the Treasury, shows a number of improvements, said HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs Kurt Usowski in a press release. However, "the housing market is still in the recovery phase of the cycle."
"The good news is that homeowners' equity is now over $10 trillion, foreclosure starts are at their lowest levels since 2005, and house prices remain stable, but the recovery is stronger in some markets than in others," he said.
Foreclosure starts amounted to over 51,842, down 9% from January and 27% from 2013, while the number of real estate owned properties remained at 30,300, virtually the same as January and down 33% from a year ago.
In addition, nearly 2 million homeowners received foreclosure mitigation assistance through the Making Home Affordable Program, including more than 1.3 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program, and more than 2.2 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions conducted by the Federal Housing Administration.
Plus, Hope Now alliance lenders offered more than 4 million proprietary modifications through January, bringing the total number of mortgage modifications and other forms of mortgage assistance completed between April 2009 and the end of February 2014 to more than 8.2 million.