Federal housing scorecard shows improving market at midpoint of 2013

Greener pastures may be just ahead for the housing market, but as a precaution the Obama Administration recommends tempered expectations.

Greener pastures may be just ahead for the once-hurting housing sector, as the latest data compiled by the White House shows improving conditions in various facets of the real estate market.

The most recent property data from the White House revealed positive signs, as existing-homes sales rose to 431,700 units in May. According to the June 2013 Housing Scorecard, the best way to proceed with buying or selling is with care. 

"The Obama Administration's efforts to speed the housing recovery are showing continued progress as the June scorecard indicators highlight ongoing improvements throughout the housing market," said Kurt Usowski, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs, in the Housing Scorecard report.

The number of foreclosures had dropped at an incredible rate, down 14 percent in May, according to RealtyTrac. Those changes are bringing the market back to a state similar to before the collapse in 2007. 

"Halfway through 2013 it's becoming increasingly evident that foreclosures are no longer a problem nationally, [although] they continue to be a thorn in the side of several state and local markets," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

He mentioned that bank repossessions are still much higher than the historical average, at 420,000 units a year compared to 250,000 units, Forbes stated. Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio and Georgia had some of the highest percentages of foreclosures in the country in June. 

Despite trend, proceed with caution
Usowski added that the Obama Administration still advises people to approach the market gently. Various real estate records provide useful data for many looking to buy or sell. Elements are trending positively, but many items associated with home sales are still not ideal for buying and selling, according to the Housing Scorecard.

In particular, home prices are also on the rise, and similar to the foreclosure rates post-collapse numbers were reached in May. The S&P Case-Shiller home index price hit 152.4 in May, when a year earlier it was around 136. Additionally, it was discovered new-home sales reached 39,700 units for that month, almost one thousand 1,000 more than April, the U.S. Census Bureau stated. Mortgage rates are moving up and down as well, dropping slightly during May to 4.29 percent compared to 4.46 percent, and mortgage delinquency rates have fallen for prime borrowers, according to Freddie Mac.

"Foreclosure starts and completions are down significantly from one year ago and since January 2012, rising home values have lifted 2.4 million homeowners back above water," said Usowski. "That said, we remain cautious because although mortgage delinquencies are trending down, they still remain quite high compared to historic norms." 

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