Obama Housing Scorecard Progresses in January as Low Mortgage Rates Help Housing Recover
The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of the Treasury release a monthly report on the health of the housing market. The January 2013 report points to a housing market that is recovering as sales of existing homes increased 12.8 and sales of new homes increased 8.8 percent from December last year.
In addition to home sales increasing, home prices are moving higher as well. Home prices are up more than 5 percent from levels a year ago. As a result of higher home prices, the number of homeowners coming out from underwater on their home continues to rise. The Obama Administration's foreclosure preventive actions continue to help the housing market. 1.5 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program and the FHA has offered more than 1.5 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions to homeowners.
The Obama Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has also helped more than 1 million homeowners keep their home. As of December, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification allowing them to save approximately $545 on average on their mortgage payments each month.
Low refinance rates have also enticed more than 20 million homeowners refinance their mortgage since April 1, 2009. Refinance rates today on 30 year conforming loans are averaging 3.60 percent, less than 40 basis points above above the all-time record low of 3.27 percent.
If you have been waiting for home prices or mortgage rates to fall further to buy a home you shouldn't wait any more. Home prices and mortgage rates have probably bottomed out the past year and will head higher. While both prices and rates will move higher, the increases will be small. Regardless, with home affordability at the highest point in 40 years, now is the time to buy.
If you're thinking about refinancing a loan, now is the time to do so. Refinancing a loan makes sense if the new rate you receive is around 1.00 percent less and if you plan to stay in your home for more than three years. Refinancing to a shorter-term mortgage will save you even more money if you can afford the higher monthly mortgage payments.
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