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Fannie, Freddie foreclosure preventions drop for fifth-straight month

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Foreclosure prevention actions in February, such as modifications or repayment plans, dropped for the fifth-straight month at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Servicers working on loans held by the government-sponsored enterprises provided 55,070 total foreclosure prevention workouts, down from nearly 61,000 the month before and below the 77,800 actions taken one year ago. The peak came in March 2010, when servicers completed more than 101,400 actions. Completed modifications made up more than half of the prevention actions at 25,424 in February, down from 31,000 the previous month and the lowest total of any month in the last year. Servicers completed nearly 15,000 repayments plans and 7,827 short sales. Roughly 6,200 forbearance plans were started, followed by 540 deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure for the month. Workouts through the Home Affordable Refinancing Program, which the FHFA recently extended another year, totaled 47,000 loans in February, up from 41,000 the month before. Foreclosure starts outnumbered preventions. Servicers started 66,477 foreclosures on GSE loans in February, down from more than 91,000 in the previous month and 71,000 a year earlier. The peak for foreclosure starts came in July 2010, when servicers began 121,600 foreclosures. The serious delinquency rate on the combined portfolios at Fannie and Freddie dropped 2 basis points to 4.18% in February, down almost a full percentage point from 5.03% a year ago. Nearly half of Fannie and Freddie borrowers claimed a curtailment of income as the reason behind their delinquency, followed by excessive obligations at 14%, and 8% of borrowers cited unemployment as their hardship. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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