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Monday, June 21, 2010

Obama Housing Metrics

by Calculated Risk on 6/21/2010 03:48:00 PM

The Obama administration has introduced a "monthly housing scorecard". Here is the website:

Some excerpts and a couple of graphs:

• Home price performance has improved. After 30 straight months of decline and an expectation of continued significant deterioration, home prices have leveled off in the past year and expectations have adjusted upward. Homeowners have benefitted from the stabilization, as owner equity has increased by over $1 trillion since the first quarter of 2009
House Prices Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph from the Obama Administration "scorecard" shows the actual house prices, and future house prices. The light blue line was the projected house prices based on futures in January 2009 - before the Obama administration started supporting house prices with various programs to limit supply and boost demand.

Note: I don't know why they use washed out colors on the graphs.

I believe the overall goal of supporting house prices was a mistake. It wasn't horrible - because prices were much closer to the bottom than the top - but by keeping prices too high, the market hasn't cleared and there is still a huge overhang of existing home inventory.

Existing Home InventoryThe second graph from the housing scorecard shows the Obama administration's estimate of the housing overhang.

I'm not confident in the "held off market" category, but that is probably their method of estimating the shadow inventory (not all "held off market" is shadow, but some probably is). The existing home inventory - and shadow inventory - are still very high.

More from the report:
• More than 2.5 million first time homebuyers have purchased a home using the First-Time Homebuyer Tax credit, helping to stabilize home sales and prices and increase affordability.
This is really sad news. This program was a disaster - most of these buyers would have bought anyway, and the others was just pulling forward future demand at a higher price. Now that the program is almost over (hopefully), demand and prices will probably fall again.
• Martgages are now more affordable. Due to historically low interest rates, more than 6 million homeowners have refinanced, saving an estimated $150 per month on overage and more than $11 billion in total.

• Servicers report that the number of homeowners receiving restructured mortgages since April 2009 has increased to 2.8 million. This includes more than 1.2 million homeowners who have started HAMP trial modifications and nearly 400,000 who have benefitted from FHA loss mitigation activities. Of those in the HAMP program, 346,000 have entered a permanent modification saving a median of more than $500 per month. In addition, HUD approved mortgage counselors have assisted 3.6 million families.

• Based on newly available survey data, nearly half of homeowners unable to enter a HAMP permanent modification enter an alternative modification with their servicer, and fewer than 10 percent of cancelled trials move to foreclosure sale.
Note: the Obama administration needs a better spellchecker (what is a "martgage"?. And I think it is "benefited" with one "t")

This raises more questions: fewer than 10% of cancelled trials have moved to a foreclosure sale? What about short sales? Does that mean that the homeowners are curing the delinquency (getting caught up), or does that mean there are many more distressed sales to come?

There are many more graphs (and a list of sources) in the report and this report might not have much good news in the coming months ...