Carrie Bay | 03.31.09
HOPE NOW announced on Monday that its members and the larger mortgage lending industry modified 134,000 home loans in February that were in danger of foreclosure, a nine percent increase over the number of mortgages modified in January.
The industry alliance also said that modifications last month made up 55 percent of all workout solutions completed, representing the highest modification percentage since HOPE NOW began collecting data – a positive stat, considering HOPE NOW and its members have historically come under fire from consumer advocacy groups for employing primarily repayment plans, which some experts say are more susceptible to re-default.
In addition to the 134,000 modifications, HOPE NOW said 110,000 repayment plans were executed, meaning that last month, HOPE NOW members and the larger mortgage lending industry helped 244,000 at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure. This is the first time since HOPE NOW began to compile data in July 2007 that the number of foreclosure preventions has exceeded 200,000 for six consecutive months.
According to Faith Schwartz, HOPE NOW’s executive director, the mortgage lending industry is working hard to provide multiple options for borrowers to avoid foreclosure. “We expect the trend to continue as many companies expand their offerings to include the administration’s Making Home Affordable refinance and modification programs,” she said. “The mortgage lending industry is responding to the needs of its customers and offering solutions that are appropriate to the current market and economic conditions,” Schwartz added.
Despite the positive monthly trend in mortgage workouts, HOPE NOW reported that the number of foreclosures started in February increased to 243,000, up from 217,000 in January. Completed foreclosure sales also increased, from 68,000 in January to 87,000 in February.
The HOPE NOW February data does not yet reflect the impact of the Obama administration’s recently announced, but not yet implemented, Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.
Schwartz said, “Currently 5.5 percent of the total mortgage market is 60 days or more delinquent. Because of this, HOPE NOW members are working hard to help the administration implement its recently-announced foreclosure prevention initiative as well as working on additional ways we can be more efficient in helping at-risk homeowners.”