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Housing market continues to show signs of improvement

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today released the November edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest data show progress among many key indicators. The purchase of new homes and home prices remain strong and foreclosures are down. Although there is much good news, officials caution that the overall recovery remains fragile. The full Housing Scorecard is available online at www.hud.gov/scorecard.

“The November housing scorecard shows that the Obama Administration’s continuing efforts to help responsible homeowners is having a positive effect,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. “The Obama Administration’s policies, continuing economic and job growth, and rising house prices have combined to reduce foreclosure starts to levels not seen since 2005. And although the number of homeowners ‘underwater’ meaning they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth is down more than 40 percent from its peak, the number remains historically elevated meaning more work needs to be done to ensure the continued stability of the housing market.”

“The standards set by the Making Home Affordable program have transformed the mortgage servicing industry, as have our quarterly servicer assessments,” said Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler. “While the country as a whole has made significant progress, there is still room for improvement for servicers and the Treasury is committed to applying pressure on the mortgage servicing industry to improve servicer behavior. Although the housing market has largely recovered, there are still homeowners struggling and it is key that we continue to help them.”

Since the beginning 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 management and reporting.

For the third quarter of 2013, the Servicer Assessment has been enhanced to present new compliance metrics and related benchmarks. These changes will provide additional insight into the impact of servicer performance on the borrower’s experience, allow for trending analysis of all compliance metrics and foster further improvement in servicer performance by tightening performance benchmarks.

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