News from the US Housing Department from Friday shows new homes sales in the US for December fell 7.3 percent. This number was down from November's totals, which were the highest in the last couple of years. Aside the beans being counted though, it would seem some care and tenderness in drafting reports about struggling homeowners is needed at the agency.
Sales for 2012 were up to 367,000 units, or the most since 2009, according to the report. The so-called Obama Administration Scorecard from HUD reveals a market in flux. The below key component of the report
Still, even with these broad headlines across the front page of the report, digging deeper into the December Scorecard (PDF) it seems clear the report contains some "hollow data" too. For an instance, reporting on refinancing by owners in a graph like the one below, does not say much when compared to refinance overall. In short, the administration seems to be taking credit for system and cylical trends here.
"Housing Councillors Serving Millions of Families", "Homeowner Savings from Reduced Mortgage Payments", and other charts used in this latest report do little beside suggesting "Hey, we are doing stuff up here." Or at least this is a fair assessment for some.
A final criticism here has to go to whomever wrote the texts for this report. In the most politically correct town, in the most politically correct country on Earth, HUD offers a stab at America's "irresponsible mortgagees" here:
"Millions of responsible families who had made their monthly payments and had fulﬁlled their obligations saw their property values fall. They also found themselves unable to reﬁnance at lower mortgage rates."
Does this mean all those "irresponsible" slackers now out of their homes, or "taxing" the system for assistance and counselling did less somehow? Sorry to bring this up in a news report, but the lingo here stymied me. On the one had bureaucrats expect their constituents to swallow charts and numbers hook-line-and-sinker, and on the other make no bones about dancing on the pride of those families hit hardest by the Great Recession?
We look forward to your thoughts on this aspect.
Excellent observation Phil. Yes, the language used is interesting, and yes, the administration is taking credit for what are essentially poor numbers. HUD is a basket case of massive proportions. One thing this report probably does not point out is how many of those home sales from 2012 again went to borrowers who are poorly qualified to own a home, but lending to them is the politically correct thing to do. Subprime lending is alive and well and HUD is it's biggest proponent.
I agree Donna, and you certainly know more about the situation than I do on the property pro perspective. I actually think Obama has done a good job with what he has had to work with, but this does not justify mediocrity within the system, nor does "almost" help in the long run. America is in pretty big trouble, and half hearted PR fluff in place of real numbers and the truth... You know the answer there.
Sooner or later some President needs to say "It ain't workin", we need to find the path again. Clearly, and this is just my opinion, rampant free market systems self destruct just as badly as their socialist counterparts. I think we have yet to find the perfect economic system. Obama, as one expert told me, is just trying the same old cures for a disease that has not been cured.
We shall see.