Rising home values lifted 1.3 million homeowners out of negative
equity in the first half of the year and raised total homeowner
equity to its highest level in four years.
Total homeowner equity increased by $863 billion in the first
two quarters of 2012, according to the newly released September
Housing Scorecard the U.S. Treasury and Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD). That figure includes a $406 billion
increase from April to June, bringing total homeowner equity to
$7.275 billion, a 13.5 percent gain since the end of 2011.
Underwater loans down 11 percent
As a result, the number of homeowners who are underwater on
their mortgages dropped by 11 percent, to 10.8 million in the
second quarter, down from 12.1 million at the end of last year.
"As the September housing scorecard indicates, our housing
market is showing important signs of recovery - with homeowner
equity at a four-year high and summer sales of existing homes at
the strongest pace in two years," said HUD Acting Assistant
Secretary Erika Poethig.
The National Association of Realtors previously reported that
existing home sales hit a seasonally adjusted annual level of 4.82
million units in August, a 9.3 percent gain over the August 2011
Delinquencies, foreclosures decline
A total of 3.60 million mortgages were reported as delinquent
but not in foreclosure in August, a 1.6 percent decline from July's
level of 3.66 million and a 5 percent annual decline from the
figure of 3.80 million reported one year earlier.
Newly initiated foreclosures picked up slightly in August,
according to the report, to 99,400, up from 98,200 in July. At the
same time, over the same period completed foreclosures dropped to
52,400, down from 53,700 in July.
Both figures showed significant annual declines, with
foreclosure starts down 13 percent from their August 2011 level of
114,500 and completed foreclosures down 19 percent from a figure of
64,800 for that month.
First published on MortgageLoan.com at:
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