Foreclosures and solutions have been on the steady decline for years, which means many housing markets are improving—and the key is sustaining that growth, according to a report released by HOPE NOW  on Tuesday.
In October 2015, the industry offered approximately 30,000 permanent loan modifications, compared with 39,000 the previous October (a 23 percent decline). Short sales dropped off by 37 percent in October year-over-year, from 10,400 to 6,600. Also declining substantially from October 2014 to October 2015 were deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure (2,300 down to 1,500, a 35 percent drop), foreclosure starts (65,000 down to 57,000, a 13 percent drop), foreclosure sales (39,000 down to 26,000, a 33 percent drop), and serious delinquencies (1.91 million down to 1.67 million, a 13 percent drop), according to HOPE NOW.
“Our data has always been about finding significant trends so that our member and partners are best equipped to offer the right solution to the right borrower,” HOPE NOW Executive Director Eric Selk said. “Sustainability is the key as the housing market continues to improve across the nation.”
The total number of non-foreclosure solutions in October 2015, including permanent loan modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu, and other workout plans, totaled 109,000, which still outpaced foreclosure sales during the month (26,000) by a ratio of approximately 4 to 1.
“We are pleased to see that total solutions are still significantly outpacing foreclosure sales on a consistent basis,” Selk said. “We are close to pre-crisis levels and that is good news. By reviewing the data from a year ago, we are also happy to see double digit decreases in foreclosure numbers and delinquency volume.”
To the end of achieving sustainability in housing markets, HOPE NOW—a voluntary, private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and non-profit counselors—has hosted a series of loss mitigation events in the areas hit hardest by the crisis to connect struggling borrowers face-to-face with mortgage servicers, housing counseling agencies, and local non-profit agencies and civic organizations. Year-to-date, 2,300 borrowers have received assistance at nine events; in the last event, which took place in New York City and included Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the government’s Making Home Affordable program, 375 borrowers received assistance.
“As I have stressed each month, the focus of our industry members is largely on markets experiencing a slower recovery,” Selk said. “Additionally, as loss mitigation efforts slow down—which is a good thing—HOPE NOW is looking at improving communities in this post-recession environment. We have taken a large role in neighborhood stabilization initiatives, abandoned property issues and holistic community revitalization. Our borrower outreach efforts have been complemented by high level roundtables with elected officials and community leaders.”