Hope Now, a group focused on keeping distressed homeowners in their homes, reported they had successfully completed roughly 133,000 modifications in the first quarter of 2014. Of the reported total, approximately 41,000 permanent modifications were from the Home Affordable Modification Program. In March, the group reported roughly 45,000 total completed modifications, increasing slightly from February's total of 42,000.The total number of loan modifications completed are the highest they have been in five months.
For the first quarter of 2014, foreclosure starts totaled roughly 218,000. Foreclosure starts in March stayed relatively flat at 70,280, dropping from February's total of 70,317. Prime loans made up roughly 77 percent of total foreclosure starts for the month, with approximately 54,000 new starts. Subprime loans rounded out the remainder with 15,500. Since the third quarter of 2007, HOPE NOW has completed a total of 6.9 million modifications.
Zillow released its Negative Equity report for the first quarter, revealing an estimated 9.7 million homeowners continue to owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. That number, down from about 9.8 million in Q4 2013, represents about 18.8 percent of mortgage-paying Americans, according to Zillow. Conservative estimates from the company call for a negative equity rate of 17 percent by this time next year as home value growth moderates.