Lower mortgage rates, rising home values, and higher sales volumes show that the housing market recovery is continuing, according to the latest July Housing Scorecard issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Single-family new home sales were 25% higher than last year. They increased by 3.5% in June to 592,000, the highest pace since February 2008.
Existing home sales were up 3% from this same time last year and had risen by 1.1% to 5.57 million in June, the fastest pace since February 2007.
The 30-year fixed mortgage average rates were averaging at 3.41% in July, 3.97% lower than at the beginning of the year and the lowest it has been since the beginning of May 2013 when it was 3.35%, according to HUD.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index increased 0.2% between April and May and was 5.6% higher than the rate a year ago.
Foreclosure starts and completions fell in June. Newly initiated foreclosures have been below the pre-crisis (2005 and 2006) monthly average of 52,280 since March 2015. Lenders completed the foreclosure process (bank repossessions or REOs) on 30,400 U.S. properties in June, a decrease of 15 percent from the previous month and 17% from a year ago. This is the fourth consecutive annual decline in foreclosure completions in the past 16 months.
According to the HUD report, year-over-year foreclosure completions had declined for 27 consecutive months before starting to increase in March 2015. The pre-crisis average of foreclosure completions was 23,120 properties a month. Foreclosure activity has been volatile in recent months as states with a substantial pool of foreclosure inventory move to reduce the backlog. (Source: RealtyTrac.)
Overall, the Scorecard reports progress, yet states the need to continue fostering the housing market by boosting home sales, helping underwater homeowners, and reducing elevated mortgage delinquency rates.
You can see the complete housing scorecard at this link.