The number of permanent mortgage modifications completed during the month of February rose 6 percent from January, according to the latest report from HOPE NOW. At the same time, foreclosure sales decreased and foreclosure starts increased, according to the industry group.
More than 81,300 homeowners received permanent loan modifications in February, according to HOPE NOW, a private-sector mortgage industry alliance. HOPE NOW calculates both proprietary and government modifications.
""More than 158,000 loan modifications have been completed in the first two months of 2013 and outreach to at-risk homeowners by the industry, non-profits, government agencies and others remains proactive,"" said Eric Selk, executive director of HOPE NOW.
Since the group began reporting loan modification data in 2007, the industry has completed about 6.23 million modifications--more than 5 million through the private sector
and more than 1 million through the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
Another foreclosure alternative--short sales--have been declining over the past few months. In February, 26,388 short sales were completed, down from 29,648 in January.
HOPE NOW also observed a 21 percent decrease in foreclosure sales in February. The group calculated 49,135 foreclosure sales in February, the lowest number on record since December 2007 when HOPE NOW reported 47,378 foreclosure sales for the month.
Foreclosure starts, on the other hand, increased 16 percent in February, rising to 193,860 for the month.
Serious delinquencies--loans 60 or more days delinquent--improved about 2 percent in February. About 2.48 million homeowners are 60 or more days delinquent on their mortgages.
Serious delinquencies have been hovering around 2.5 million for the past several months.
Of the more than 81,000 loan modifications completed in February, almost 66,000 were offered by the private sector.
HOPE NOW also tracks proprietary modifications for specific characteristics such as fixed interest rates and principal reductions.
Ninety-two percent of proprietary modifications completed in February included fixed interest rates for at least five years.
Eighty-six percent offered principal and interest rate reductions, and 79 percent offered principal and interest rate reductions of more than 10 percent.