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The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury has released the February Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market.
Included in the February Making Home Affordable Program Report are detailed assessments from the fourth quarter of 2012 for the largest mortgage servicers participating in the program.
Since inception of the Making Home Affordable Program, Treasury has required participating servicers to take specific actions to improve their processes through ongoing program reviews. The quarterly Servicer Assessments summarize performance in three categories of program implementation: identifying and contacting homeowners; homeowner evaluation and assistance; and program reporting, management and governance.
Results for the fourth quarter of 2012 show that servicers are focusing attention on areas identified in previous program reviews and, as a result, are demonstrating continued improvement in program implementation:
- Servicers are more effectively evaluating homeowners under program eligibility criteria as seen in the “second look disagree” category, which reflects the rate at which Treasury’s program reviews disagree with the servicers’ decision to find a homeowner ineligible for assistance. In the fourth quarter, the average second look disagree rate for the top servicers was below two percent.
- Mortgage servicers continue to accurately calculate homeowner income, which is used to determine a homeowner’s eligibility and modified payment amount under the program. In the fourth quarter, the average income calculation error rate for the top servicers went down from the previous quarter, and three servicers had a zero percent error rate.
For the fourth quarter of 2012, two servicers were found to need only minor improvement on the areas reviewed for program performance, while seven servicers were found to need moderate improvement. Although servicer performance in a particular compliance category can fluctuate from quarter to quarter, in general, servicers continue to show continued overall improvement in program implementation. All servicers, however, will need to continue to demonstrate progress in any areas identified in subsequent program reviews.
The February Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
- More than 1.5 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.6 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions.
- As of January, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), saving approximately $546 on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $17.9 billion to date.
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently launched the first housing discrimination mobile application (app) for iPhone and iPad. Developed by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and Hewlett Packard (HP), the app uses the latest technology to provide consumers with a quick and easy way to learn about their housing rights and to file housing discrimination complaints, and inform the housing industry about its responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
In addition to facilitating real-time delivery of housing discrimination complaints to HUD, the app can be used by individuals researching their housing rights after a natural disaster, when power outages make the iPhone/iPad one of the few ways to access the Internet.
The app also provides information about the fair housing complaint process, and allows the public to access HUD’s toll-free discrimination hotline and link to HUD’s fair housing website: www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury has released the January edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard. Data continue to show signs that the housing market is strengthening, with the number of underwater borrowers continuing to decline as home prices continue to improve, although officials caution that there is regional variation and the overall economic recovery remains fragile.
The January Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
- Nearly 1.5 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.5 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions.
- As of December, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it is issuing a final rule to formalize the national standard for determining whether a housing practice violates the Fair Housing Act as the result of discriminatory effect.
HUD is statutorily charged with the authority and responsibility for interpreting and enforcing the Fair Housing Act and has long interpreted the Act to prohibit housing practices with an unjustified discriminatory effect, if those acts actually or predictably result in a disparate impact on a group of persons, or create, increase, reinforce, or perpetuate segregated housing patterns because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
The rule provides clarity and consistency for individuals, businesses, and government entities subject to the Fair Housing Act. HUD anticipates the rule also will make it easier for individuals and organizations covered by the law to understand their responsibilities and comply with the law.
HUD and the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury recently released the December edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard, which showed the housing marketing bottomed out nationally and clearly turned a corner – as home values continued to rise and home sales remained strong in November – although officials caution that the overall recovery remains fragile.
“As the December housing scorecard indicates, our housing market is continuing to show important signs of recovery – with the FHFA and Case-Shiller housing price indices up 5.6 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, from one year ago,” said HUD Senior Advisor on Housing Finance Michael Berman.
The December Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:
- Home prices showed large annual gains for the 12 months ending October 2012, and the Administration’s recovery efforts continue to help millions of families deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. More than six million mortgage modification and other forms of assistance arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of November 2012. More than 81,000 loans were refinanced under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in October, bringing the total to 790,600 since the beginning of 2012.
- The Administration’s foreclosure programs are providing relief for millions of homeowners as we continue to recover from an unprecedented housing crisis. More than 1.4 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.5 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than 3 million proprietary mortgage modifications through October.
- HAMP continues to offer homeowners sustainable relief to avoid foreclosure. As of November, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), saving approximately $544 on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $16.7 billion to date.
- In November, 77 percent of homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefited from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Eighty-seven percent of homeowners entering the program in the last two and a half years have received a permanent modification of their mortgage through HAMP.
Nearly 20 percent of recent movers identified “convenience to job” as the most important factor in their choice of neighborhood in 2011, according to the 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS), the definitive source of information on the quality of housing in the United States. For the first time in its history, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have made survey results available on the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder data access tool.
A wide range of specific topics is covered in the survey, including plumbing and source of water and sewage disposal; housing problems; householder’s satisfaction with home and neighborhood; value, purchase price and type of mortgage; recent home improvement activity and costs; safety features and potential health hazards; features in home providing accessibility to people with disabilities; and socio-economic characteristics of the householder. Statistics are national-level only and are provided for apartments, single-family homes, manufactured housing, new construction and vacant housing units.
Topics new to the housing survey include safety features, potential health hazards and features providing accessibility to people with disabilities. Among the accessibility features in occupied homes were floors with no steps between rooms (64 percent of homes have this feature), entry level bathrooms (48 percent), entry level bedrooms (36 percent) and handles or levers on sinks (28 percent). The least common accessibility features were elevators (found in 0.2 percent of homes), ramps (1 percent), handrails or grab bars (excluding steps) in nonbathroom areas (2 percent), raised toilets (7 percent) and built-in shower seats (8 percent).
To help ensure families protect their children from lead poisoning, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced new Guidelines on how to identify and control lead-based paint and related hazards in housing, and to help property owners, government agencies, and private contractors sharply reduce childhood exposure to lead without unnecessarily increasing the cost of renovation. This second edition of the Guidelines replaces the 1995 edition.
These Guidelines can be used by those who are required to identify and control lead paint hazards, as well as property owners, landlords, and child-care center operators. They offer helpful advice on renovations in older housing, lead-based paint inspections and risk assessments, and where to go for help. The Guidelines also outline what users have to do to meet requirements and recommendations; identify training – and if applicable, certification – required for people who conduct the work; and describe how the work should be done.
HUD recently announced the launch of the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program, an expansion of an FHA pilot program that allows private investors to purchase pools of mortgages headed for foreclosure and charges them with helping to bring the loan out of default.
The FHA note sales program began as a pilot in 2010 and has resulted in the purchase of more than 2,100 single family loans to date. A servicer can place a loan into the loan pool if the following criteria are met:
- The borrower is at least six months delinquent on his/her mortgage;
- The servicer has exhausted all steps in the FHA loss mitigation process;
- The servicer has initiated foreclosure proceedings; and
- The borrower is not in bankruptcy.
Under the program, FHA-insured notes are sold competitively at a market-determined price, generally below the outstanding principal balance. Once the note is purchased, foreclosure is delayed for a minimum of six additional months as the borrower gets direct help from his/her servicer to help to find an affordable solution to avoid foreclosure. The investor purchases the loan at a discount and then takes additional steps to help the borrower avoid default, whether through modifying the loan terms or helping conduct a short sale, in order to maximize the return on the sale.
Beginning with the September 2012 scheduled sale, FHA will increase the number of loans available for purchase from approximately 1,800 each year to a quarterly rate of up to 5,000, and add a new neighborhood stabilization pool to encourage investment in communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.
In an additional safeguard against blight, HUD will require that no more than 50 percent of the loans within a purchased pool become real-estate owned (REO) properties and – if the servicer and borrower are unable to bring the loan out of default – that the servicer hold the loan for at least three years.
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released two reports on the impact HUD-approved housing counseling has for those families who purchase their first homes and those struggling to prevent foreclosure. In both studies, HUD found housing counseling significantly improved the likelihood homeowners remained in their homes.
Both the pre-purchase counseling and foreclosure counseling studies enrolled clients in the fall of 2009 and early 2010. HUD found that 35 percent of participants became homeowners within 18 months of pre-purchase counseling, and only one of those buyers subsequently fell behind in their mortgage payments. The foreclosure counseling study reveals that with a counselor’s help, nearly 70 percent of those counseled obtained a mortgage remedy to retain their home, and 56 percent cured their defaults and became current on their mortgages.
Key findings of the “Pre-Purchase Counseling Outcome Study” include:
- Thirty-five percent of the study participants had become homeowners 18 months after seeking pre-purchase counseling.
- Most purchasers had a FICO score of 620 or higher (71 percent), and were reported as having completed counseling by their housing counselor (72 percent).
- Only one of the purchasers had fallen at least 30 days behind on mortgage payments 12-18 months after receiving pre-purchase counseling services.
- Most were motivated to seek counseling to identify homebuyer assistance programs (58 percent) or to obtain down payment or closing cost assistance or to qualify for a specific loan program (58 percent).
- Study participants were racially and ethnically diverse (52 percent African American, 32 percent White, 16 percent of another race or multi-racial, and 19 percent Hispanic), were more likely to be young (51 percent were under age 35), female (72 percent), and have dependents under the age of 18 living with them (57 percent).
Key findings of the “Foreclosure Counseling Outcome Study” include:
- Most study participants attempted to contact their servicer when they first fell behind but were unsuccessful in negotiating with their lenders on their own.
- With a counselor’s help, 69 percent of counselees obtained a mortgage remedy, and 56 percent were able to become current on their mortgages.
- Nearly 70 percent of clients who sought counseling before becoming delinquent were in their home and current on their mortgage payments at the 18-month follow-up period, whereas only 30 percent of clients who were six or more months behind at the time they entered counseling were in their home and current at follow-up.
San Diego Union Tribune – There are many myths associated with HUD-approved counselors. Here are some common ones busted to give homeowners an idea of the benefits and limits of their services.
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