Freddie Mac's total mortgage portfolio contracted to start 2015 after ending 2014 with its highest annualized growth rate for a single month in five years while the serious delinquency rate for the Enterprise's loans fell to a six-year low, according to Freddie Mac's January 2015 Monthly Volume Summary released Thursday.
The mortgage portfolio contracted at an annualized growth rate of 0.8 percent, ending four consecutive months of expansion. The contraction represented a decline of $1.31 billion, leaving the portfolio's value at an estimated $1.908 trillion in January. The portfolio has now contracted for 49 out of the last 61 months dating back to January 2010, at the height of the foreclosure wave. In December, Freddie Mac's mortgage portfolio grew at an annualized rate of 5.7 percent, the largest annualized growth rate for one month since December 2009.
The single-family serious delinquency rate on mortgage loans backed by Freddie Mac continued to decline, from 1.88 percent in December to 1.86 percent in January, its lowest level since January 2009. This is less than half of the national serious delinquency rate, which CoreLogic reported to be at 4.1 percent in its December 2014 National Foreclosure Report.
According to Freddie Mac's 2014 Financial Results Summary released last week, the Enterprise has helped approximately 1.1 million homeowners avoid foreclosure since January 2009. About 84 percent of those homeowners were able to stay in their homes by means of loan modifications, repayment plans, or forbearance agreements. The remaining 16 percent avoided foreclosure through short sales or deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions, according to Freddie Mac.
"Keeping families in their homes continues to be a top priority for Freddie Mac and we exhaust every workout option to do so," Freddie Mac wrote on its blog last month. "We have helped more than one million struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure since the crisis."
The number of homeowners who received permanent loan modifications declined month-over-month in January. The total number of loan mods for the month 4,793, down from the 5,371 loan mods Freddie Mac reported in December. The total of loan modifications completed for the entire year of 2014 was 67,152, or an average of 5,596 per month.
Single-family refinance loan purchase and guarantee volume also decreased month-over-month, totaling $12.4 billion in January – down from $13.1 billion in December. Although the overall volume declined, it made up a larger percentage of total single-family mortgage portfolio loans or purchases in January (57 percent) than in December (56 percent). According to Freddie Mac, 14 percent of the Enterprise's total single-family refinance volume was comprised of relief refinance mortgages.
Also in January's Monthly Volume Summary, Freddie Mac reported that the aggregate unpaid principal balance (UPB) of the Enterprise's mortgage-related investments portfolio declined month-over-month by about $1 billion.