The overall housing market continued to show improvement between October and November according to the December release of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard as home prices continued to hold their ground while existing home sales were robust.
Mortgage delinquency rates on prime, sub-prime and FHA mortgages posted modest increases in November with the delinquency rate of prime mortgages that were at least 30 days or more delinquent increasing from 3.9 percent in October to 4.0 percent in November. In November of last year, the delinquency rate was 4.5 percent.
Performance of sub-prime mortgages also worsened as the percentage of delinquent loans climbed to 30.4 percent from 30.0 percent in October but was down from 32.8 percent posted a year earlier.
Delinquency rates of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) were also on the rise, increasing to 11.8 percent in November from 11.7 percent in October. The delinquency rate on FHA loans a year ago was 12.8 percent.
Seriously delinquent mortgages, those that are 90 days or more past due, improved in two of the three categories with the number of prime mortgages in trouble declining to 1.188 million loans in November, down from 1.203 million in October and down from 1.469 million a year earlier.
Sub-prime mortgages that were seriously delinquent numbered 1.559 million in November, down from 1.575 million in October. In November of last year, 1.771 million sub-prime mortgages were seriously delinquent.
Loans insured by the FHA that were seriously delinquent increased to 735,000 in November, up from 734,000 in October, and were 6.7 percent higher than the 689,000 delinquent loans in November 2011.
Loan originations for home purchases in the third quarter of 2012 increased by 31.3 percent from the second quarter and were 35.7 percent higher than at the same time last year while refinance originations were down 4.4 percent from the second to the third quarter and were down 16.6 percent from the third quarter of last year.
Home prices continued to improve compared to a year ago with all three of the indices used in the Housing Scorecard, Core-Logic, FHFA and the Case-Shiller Indices, posting pricing gains from the previous year, but showed little movement from September to October.
Sales of new homes increased by a seasonally adjusted 4.3 percent from October to November while sales of existing homes improved by 5.9 percent between the two months.
Distressed property sales accounted for 23 percent of all re-sales in October, unchanged from September, but were down from 27 percent the previous year.
The inventory of existing homes listed for sell declined by 3.8 percent with the number of months supply falling to 4.8 months in November from a 5.3 months supply in October. The supply of new homes for sale fell from 4.9 months at the end of the second quarter to 4.7 months at the end of the third quarter.
Foreclosure activity was mixed in November with foreclosure starts declining 13.1 percent and foreclosure sales increasing by 10.5 percent. Compared to a year ago, foreclosure starts were down 28.4 percent while sales were up by 5.3 percent.
The estimated number of homeowners whose homes are worth less than what they owed declined to 10.8 million at the end of the 2nd quarter of 2012 from a revised 11.4 million at the end of the first quarter.