US unveils more aid for homeowners as price collapse eases
Washington - The US government proposed more aid to struggling homeowners on Tuesday, while a private group reported that a record housing price collapse in the country may finally be easing. The Treasury Department announced it would help homeowners modify their second mortgages and would make it easier for people that are unable to sell their homes to refinance into government-backed mortgages. President Barack Obama has said he will spend as much as 75 billion dollars to help people stay in their homes.
The US housing downturn has been at the centre of a massive financial crisis, costing banks 1 trillion dollars in mortgage- related assets and helping lead the world into its first global recession since World War II.
But there are signs the collapse may be slowing.
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which measures markets in 20 major US cities, housing prices fell 18.6 per cent in February compared to the year before.
But that was less than the record 19-per-cent year-on-year decrease in January and marked the first slowdown in the price collapse since 2007.
A record decline in housing prices since mid-2006 has forced more than 3 million people into foreclosure. About one-fifth of US property owners currently owe more on their mortgages than their home is worth. (dpa)