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Hope Now: 385,468 homeowners received mortgage modification in first half

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In the first six months of 2012, the nation saw 385,468 completed loan modifications, a 28% drop from year-ago levels, Hope Now said.

Foreclosure starts also declined 15% while completed foreclosures fell 10% from the same six-month period of 2011.

Of the homeowners obtaining modifications in the first half, about 275,324 received proprietary loan modifications through lenders. The remaining 110,144 received mods via the government's Home Affordable Modification Program known as HAMP.

In the past five years, the mortgage industry completed 5.6 million permanent loan modifications, said Hope Now, an alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, housing nonprofits and mortgage insurers.

When looking at proprietary loan modifications completed in the first half of 2012, 79% — or 218,000 loans — involved the reduction of monthly principal and interest payments while 90%, or 248,000, ended up with fixed-interest rates of five years or more.

Proprietary loan modifications that cut principal and interest payments by more than 10% accounted for 72% of loan modifications recorded in the first six months of 2012.

Hope Now also reported a 10% annual decline in serious delinquencies, or late payments on loans delinquent for 60 days or more.

The first half of the year also brought a 15% drop in foreclosure starts, which tumbled to 1.06 million from 1.3 million last year.

Completed foreclosures, meanwhile, fell 10% to 395,722 from 438,764 a year earlier.

"Hope Now data for the first half of 2012 shows a continued trend of reduced late stage delinquencies, year over year," said Faith Schwartz, executive director of Hope Now. "However, efforts and resources have expanded to assist all at-risk homeowners in finding solutions to avoid foreclosure, where possible."


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