The state of the housing market continues to improve though recovery remains “fragile,” according to the October Housing Scorecard released Friday by the Obama administration. Along with the scorecard, the administration released special instructions for those administering the Making Home Affordable Program in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Signs of improvement include rising home prices, rising home sales, and ongoing efforts through the Making Home Affordable Program.
About 1.3 million previously underwater homeowners are now above water due to rising prices.
“As the October housing scorecard indicates, our housing market is continuing to show important signs of recovery – with the FHFA housing price index posting its largest annual gain in five years and new home sales at its fastest pace since April 2010,” said Erika Poethig, acting assistant secretary for policy development and research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
So far, the administration’s Making Home Affordable Program has helped almost 1.3 million homeowners. More than 1 million of these homeowners have received loan modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
Of those who start the program, about 86 percent have received permanent modifications over the past two years.
Additionally, the Federal Housing Administration has helped more than 1.5 million struggling homeowners through loss mitigation.
“To help families in the Northeast recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, we are directing servicers to make special efforts to ensure that homeowners eligible for assistance through Making Home Affordable have the extra flexibility and relief they need,” said Tim Massad, assistant secretary for financial stability at the Treasury.
In areas directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy, servicers must offer at least three months forbearance to any homeowners eligible for Making Home Affordable who request forbearance.
If a homeowner receives help through Making Home Affordable or is in the application process for a program and misses one or more payments, services are directed not to “take any action that would adversely affect eligibility for the program unless there is contact with the homeowner.”