HOPE NOW: Serious Delinquencies Fell To New Low In February

Mortgage servicers granted a total of about 27,000 loan modifications in February – basically unchanged compared with January and down slightly compared with about 29,000 in December, according to figures recently released by HOPE NOW.

Of those, about 19,000 were through proprietary programs and 8,162 were completed via the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Looking at other foreclosure alternatives, there were about 5,300 short sales completed in February – a decrease of 8% compared with about 5,800 in January.

In addition, there were about 1,600 deeds-in-lieu transactions – a decrease of 4% compared with about 1,700 in January.

All together, there were about 97,000 total non-foreclosure solutions (the combination of total loan modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu and workout plans) granted in the month of February. This compares with approximately 28,000 foreclosure sales for the month – a decrease of 15% compared with about 33,000 in January.

As of the end of February, about 1.64 million loans were seriously delinquent (90 days or more past due) – a decrease of 11% compared with about 1.84 million in January.

Foreclosure starts, however, took a slight jump. There were about 62,000 foreclosure starts in February – an increase of 7% compared with about 58,000 in January.

“Non-foreclosure solutions outpaced foreclosure sales by more than a three-to-one margin in the month of February,” says Eric Selk, executive director for HOPE NOW, in a statement. “This has been a fairly steady trend for the past year and illustrates the availability of various long-term and short-term solutions that benefit homeowners. From a historical perspective, this number marks consistent performance in customer assistance and solutions offered.

“The volume of non-foreclosure solutions (97,000) compared to the number of foreclosure sales (28,000) illustrates the hard work that servicers continue to perform with borrowers who are struggling with their mortgage,” Selk adds. “Solutions, including loan modifications, have remained consistent even though serious mortgage delinquencies fell to one of the lowest levels since HOPE NOW began tracking data.

“Our industry members comprehensively review all at-risk families for multiple options, when going through the loss mitigation process, and attempt to apply the most viable solution for each situation,” he continues. “Servicers continue to utilize a multitude of programs and HAMP alternative products to assist homeowners. These solutions avoid foreclosures, and we are pleased to see the number of proprietary modifications completed remain stable.”

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