The housing recovery continues to gather momentum, indicating an ongoing economic upswing according to the Housing Scorecard released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today. Improving market indicators include home prices, purchases of new homes, and sales of existing homes according to the report.

“As indicated in the August housing scorecard, the Administration continues to work to stabilize the housing market and help responsible homeowners get back on their feet,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. “With the number of underwater homeowners decreasing by more than 40%, it is clear that we are moving in the right direction. As we regain

stability in our housing markets, it is important to remember that we still have a long way to go in making sure that our housing finance system is strong for future generations.”

“The standards set by the Making Home Affordable program have changed the mortgage servicing industry, as have our quarterly assessments of servicer performance” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “While there has been significant progress, there is still more improvement needed in servicer behavior. And while the housing market has recovered substantially, there are still homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure and it is vital that we continue to try to help them.”

Home prices continued to show strong annual gains, according to the report. The FHFA purchase-only index rose 7.7 percent from last year, and the seasonally adjusted purchase-only index has increased for the last 17 consecutive months.

The Housing Scorecard highlighted the government’s foreclosure mitigation programs, including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which has provided more than 1.2 million permanent modifications as of July. Also, it noted that grantees of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program reported completion of more than 25,000 rehabilitated housing units.

By Hugh Moore