Washington, D.C. (April 30, 2009) – HOPE NOW, the private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, non-profit counselors, and investors that has been working aggressively to prevent foreclosures and keep homeowners in their homes, today announced that its members and the larger mortgage lending industry modified 134,000 mortgages in March.
This was the second consecutive month the lending industry completed this many modifications. Since September 2008, the industry has been averaging 116,000 modifications per month.
The industry also completed 115,000 repayment plans in March, up slightly from February. The combination of 134,000 mortgage modifications and 115,000 repayment plans means that, in March 2009, HOPE NOW members and the larger mortgage lending industry provided 249,000 homeowner solutions through these two options.
The HOPE NOW March data does not specifically break out the impact of the Obama administration’s recently announced Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, which has just begun to be implemented. According to Faith Schwartz, HOPE NOW’s executive director, “The lending industry is steadily working out solutions for homeowners and keeping as many as possible in their homes,” she said. “I expect that these numbers will continue to increase as servicers work with the Obama Administration to implement its Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan,” she added.
The HOPE NOW March data shows:
• Modifications were more than half of all solutions provided to homeowners.
• The number of completed foreclosure sales declined by 39 percent, from 87,000 to 53,000 in March, the lowest number since December 2007.
• Foreclosure starts, increased from 243,000 in February to 290,000 in March. This is the highest number of initiated foreclosure actions since HOPE NOW began tracking data in 2007 and is a 20 percent increase from February.
Michael Bright, HOPE NOW’s chief statistician, said the sharp reduction in completed foreclosure sales in March may have been because servicers allowed troubled loans to be run through the HASP program. “It’s too early to say this is a trend,” he said. “But anecdotal reports from servicers do indicate that they are taking this extra step to help homeowners who qualify stay in their homes.”
They tinkered with (at least temporarily) 249,000 loans, but the 290,000 new foreclosure starts will likely overwhelm the lenders and servicers. I heard yesterday that Chase has 60,000 short sale requests that they haven’t even inputted onto their system yet.