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Gap Between Foreclosure Completions and Alternatives Widens Further

avoid-foreclosureThe gap between the number of non-foreclosure solutions for homeowners compared with completed foreclosures widened ever further in February, according to data recently released by HOPE NOW.

The industry provided 147,000 non-foreclosure solutions for distressed homeowners in February compared to 28,000 completed foreclosures for the month, a ratio of more than five to one, according to HOPE NOW. February's total of foreclosure completions represented a decline of 22 percent from January's total of 34,000. Non-foreclosure solutions also declined month-over-month, but at a much slower pace (6.9 percent, down from 158,000) than foreclosure completions, thus further extending the chasm between the two.

Serious mortgage delinquencies dropped even further, falling to 1.85 million in February down from 1.9 percent in January. They are now at their lowest level since HOPE NOW began tracking serious delinquent data in 2007.

"Non-foreclosure solutions outpaced foreclosure sales by more than a five to one margin in the month of February," said Eric Selk, Executive Director of HOPE NOW. "This has been a fairly consistent trend for the past year and illustrates the availability of various long term and short term solutions that benefit homeowners. The volume of solutions, including loan modifications, has remained consistent even though serious mortgage delinquencies fell to its lowest level 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."

Out of the 147,000 non-foreclosure solutions completed by homeowners in February, approximately 34,000 of them were permanent loan modifications (a 3 percent drop from 35,000 in January). Out of February's total, about 10,000 were completed through the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and about 24,000 were completed through proprietary programs.

The number of short sales completed in February declined slightly month-over-month, from 7,700 down to 7,500. Deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure fell by 10 percent over the month in February, down from 2,000 to 1,800. The number of foreclosure starts dropped substantially – from 80,000 in January down to 66,000 in February, a drop of 18 percent, according to HOPE NOW.

The number of non-foreclosure solutions offered by the industry since HOPE NOW began tracking the data in 2007 is 23.5 million, and 7.4 percent of those solutions have been permanent loan modifications, according to HOPE NOW.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.
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