The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the White House’s latest Housing Scorecard, a cumulative report that assesses a wide number of factors in the housing market.
- After substantial post-bubble falls and modest 2011 gains, home prices have declined slightly in recent months, though future projections for prices remain far above 2009’s predictions.
- Both existing- and new-home sales are growing at horizontal rates, suggesting a substantial pent-up demand among prospective homebuyers.
- A big cause for that pent-up demand is falling inventories, which are down to 2006 levels; shadow inventories, though, continue their rise, and are at the highest levels yet recorded.
- Affordability and interest rates continue their inverse relationship; as interest rates fall to some of the lowest levels on record (just last week they eclipsed 4 percent again), the National Association of Realtors’ Affordability Index continues to climb to its own record levels.
- Foreclosure starts are way down from 2009, but the Scorecard neglects to mention that the decline is due more to robo-signing-inspired slowdowns than a decrease in foreclosed properties.
- Home equity is half of what it was in 2006.
- Demand for Federal Housing Administration loans has skyrocketed by sevenfold since 2007, as more and more homebuyers are unable to secure private loans;