HUD Head Sees Light

The foreclosure rate is down, home prices are up, and the government is finally getting tough with mortgage companies, according to the nation's top housing official.

"We may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel," Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, told an audience of housing pros at the New York Housing Conference on December 10.

But before we emerge into daylight, Donavan will have to persuade banks and mortgage companies to do more. Many of these companies have resisted calls to modify the terms of troubled home loans through the government's Making Home Affordable plan, even though millions of homeowners are still threatened with foreclosure. At the start of this summer, months into the program, only 50,000 homeowners had begun the process with temporary modifications to their home loans.

"Some servicers have stepped up their efforts, others clearly have not," says Donovan.