Horrible Housing News

Aug 25, 2010 8:12am

Physically at least, President Obama is nicely shielded here from the grim housing market news.

The president is staying in the Chilmark section of Martha’s Vineyard, which had the state’s highest average home value, at more than $1.8 million — down a mere 1 percent from a year earlier.

Statewide here in Massachusetts, home values are down almost 5 percent from last year.

And while nationally sales of existing homes plummeted 27 percent in July, home sales in Massachusetts plunged 38 percent – except here in Martha’s Vineyard.

Every county in Massachusetts saw a drop in sales except for the Vineyard’s Dukes County, according to the Warren Group.

For much of the country, home values have been a bleak story. More bleak news on new home sales will come today.

And while 18 months ago President Obama announced a $75 billion housing program that would help 3-4 million Americans keep their homes, the value of the program is debatable. Slightly more than 400,000 Americans have received permanent mortgage modifications, with some liberals now openly complaining that the program was actually more of a backdoor way to help banks, not homeowners.

Yesterday, asked by ABC News if Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s housing program was a success, White House spokesman Bill Burton said he’d leave that to economists and pundits to decide. He said the president had been briefed on the grim news of the existing home sales plummeting as the first time home buyers tax credit expired.

Here’s our GMA report on housing woes:

– Jake Tapper

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