Housing rescue: All in the details

I spent part of this morning at a summit on housing and related matters at Penn's Annenberg Center.

There is a story in Saturday’s Inquirer summarizing  aspects of the Obama administration’s efforts to get the real estate market  on course.

The White House, which sponsored Friday’s summit, provided a list of the key aspects of the administration’s plan, which you can read at http://goo.gl/SMaJT

Coincidentally, the administration published its February housing scorecard Friday. It includes an appeal to Congress to approve measures needed to refinance "underwater loans" of three million Americans through FHA, as well as the $15 billion Project Rebuild, designed to fund rehabbing of houses abandoned through foreclosure and rescue commercial enterprises.

You can check out the scorecard at http://goo.gl/8soKd.

The administration said more than 5.7 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and January, including nearly 1.8 million trial modification starts through the Home Affordable Modification Program.

As of January, more than 950,000 homeowners received a permanent HAMP modification, saving more than $530 on their mortgage payments each month. Homeowners in HAMP permanent modifications have saved about $11 billion to date.

A couple of weeks back, I reported that Pennsylvania’s attorney general would receive $70 million as the state's share of the $25 billion settlement over questionable foreclosure processing.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan mentioned it again Friday, and I asked him if he’d heard if the state would use some of it to resurrect the state’s Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, which has not been in the budget this year or last.

The secretary didn’t know, but it has been brought up in budget hearings, there is some legislative support for it and a number of advocacy groups are backing it as well.

Meanwhile, forebearance on mortgages for unemployed borrowers is up to 12 months for Fannie, Freddie and FHA loans, and Bank of America and Wells Fargo has followed suit, Donovan said.