Has Obama’s housing policy failed?

The president’s efforts to revive the housing market have largely failed. But is that entirely Obama’s fault?


WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration today convened a meeting with more than 50 local government and business leaders to discuss the role of sustainability in economic development and job creation. The gathering coincided with the third anniversary of the creation of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a landmark collaboration between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced today that HUD will provide an additional $2.5 million to public housing agencies to supply housing and case management for 380 homeless veterans. (See list below.) This funding is part of a total $75 million the Obama Administration is investing this year to house 10,450 homeless veterans who might otherwise be living on the streets.

Mortgage-Modification Program (Barely) Beats Critic’s Forecast

The government’s efforts to stem the housing crisis have fallen short of the sweeping plan outlined shortly after President Barack Obama took office. Still, the Obama administration’s much-criticized Home Affordable Modification Program has eclipsed a prediction made by a critic.

May Housing Scorecard and Q1 Servicer Assessments Released

The May
edition of the Obama administration’s Housing Scorecard released today by the
U.S.  Departments of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) and Treasury showed a promise of growing stability in the housing market
although officials cautioned that the overall outlook remains mixed.

The monthly
scorecard is essentially a summary of data on housing and housing finance
released by public and private sources over the previous month and/or
quarter.  Most of the data such as new
and existing home sales, permits and starts, mortgage originations, and various
house price analyses have previously been covered by MND.

This month’s
scorecard is more upbeat than many of its recent predecessors.  It notes that sales of existing houses rose
2.4 percent in April and that the inventories of newly constructed houses
increased for the first time since April 2007. 
With sales up inventories dropped to a 5.1 month supply compared to 5.2
months in March and 12.2 months at the peak in January 2009. Distressed sales
are still a big factor and serious delinquencies and underwater mortgages
continue to hold back the market.

HUD Acting Assistant Secretary Erika
Poethig said, “This month’s indicators show promise – more than 180,000
borrowers took advantage of our enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program in
the last quarter alone and foreclosure starts are declining as more homeowners
secure mortgage relief  – but with so many households still struggling to
make ends meet it’s clear that we have more work ahead.  That is why we are asking the Congress to
approve the President’s refinancing proposal so that more homeowners can
receive assistance.”

The May Housing Scorecard and the accompanying
data from the Making Home Affordable Program (HAMP) include the results of
first quarter program assessments of participating servicers.  These Servicer Assessments summarize
performance in three categories of program implementation; identifying and
contacting homeowners; evaluating homeowners for assistance, and program
reporting, management, and governance.

In the first quarter of 2012 only
three servicers were found to need minor improvement and six in need of
moderate improvement.  For the second
consecutive quarter, none was found to be in need of substantial enough improvement
to cause for Treasury to withhold program incentives as has been done in the

Release of the first quarter
assessments coincides with the roll-out of the expanded eligibility criteria
for HAMP.  The new HAMP Tier II
guidelines include eligibility for homeowners with a debt-to-income ratio below
31 percent, properties occupied by a tenant, and vacant properties which the
borrower intends to rent.  Servicers began accepting applications for Tier
2 on June 1. 

The HAMP program received 122,872
requests for modifications during April and processed 84,394.  A total of 65,949 requests were denied and
18,445 were approved.  This brings the
number of requests for modifications since the inception of the program to 4.7
million, 2.03 million of which were approved. 

These HAMP statistics for May were also
broken down on a per-servicer basis as were program-to-date numbers.  These can be seen in their entirety here.

…(read more)

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