One in five U.S. homeowners have underwater mortgages, according to the March edition of the Obama administration's ‘Housing Scorecard,’ jointly released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic says that the Obama administration is attempting to lower the level underwater mortgages through recently introduced loan modification initiatives.
‘That's why the administration's recent proposals are critical to promoting healing in the market,’ says Bostic. ‘Our efforts to ramp up economic development in fragile neighborhoods and to expand homeowner access to low-interest refinance options reflect our commitment to turning these markets toward growth. That is why we are asking Congress to approve the president's housing proposals so that more homeowners can receive assistance.’
The Housing Scorecard also reports that data on March home prices changed little from the previous month, marking a fifth month of seasonal lows. Nonetheless, the administration insists that it is making progress in strengthening the housing market.
‘The administration's programs have helped millions of homeowners while establishing standards for better outcomes across the mortgage industry,’ says Tim Massad, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial stability. ‘Recent expansions of our efforts and the historic mortgage settlement will bring substantial relief to even more homeowners as our nation continues to heal from an unprecedented foreclosure crisis.’
The administration's report is available online.