Foreclosures fell in the second quarter

Help from the federal government has done little to stem the flow of foreclosures as the unemployment rate remains high and job creation hasn't picked up pace during the slowing recovery. 

The Labor Department announced today that initial claims for unemployment benefits were unexpectedly down by 31,000 last week, but not enough to signal a return to healthy job creation. 

The Obama administration recently announced a plan to help unemployed homeowners pay their mortgages. But some housing experts have argued that the plan only helps banks and not those who are struggling to pay their home loans and other bills. 

Meanwhile, Freddie Mac announced that the rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to another record low of 4.36 percent, its ninth drop in 10 weeks. 

The delinquency rate on single-family homes declined to a seasonally adjusted rate of 9.85 percent from 10.06 percent in the first quarter, the MBA said. 

Loans at least 90 days behind or in foreclosure fell 0.43 percentage points to 9.11 percent.

Housing data has been dismal this week, with sales of existing homes slowing to their slowest pace in 15 years, while new home sales plummeted in July to their worst levels since 1963, the Commerce Department reported.