The voluntary, private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and non-profit counselors known as HOPE NOW says that about 133,000 homeowners received permanent loan modifications from mortgage servicers in the first quarter of 2014.

Of the 133,000 loan modifications done for the first quarter of 2014, about 91,500 homeowners received proprietary loan modifications and 41,363 homeowners received loan modifications completed under the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Since 2007, the mortgage industry has completed 6.97 million total permanent loan modifications for homeowners. Of those loan modifications, more than 5.6 million were proprietary programs and 1,352,861 were completed under HAMP.

During the first quarter of 2014, there were an estimated 217,000 foreclosure starts, compared to 264,000 during the previous quarter – a decline of close to 18%. Foreclosure sales also declined, with approximately 126,000 reported for Q1 2014 vs. 131,000 reported for Q4 2013, a decline of almost 4%.

“You can see a direct parallel between the number of foreclosure starts and the number of loan mods, quarter over quarter and year over year. This means that the industry is steady in its effort to keep pace with market demand,” said Eric Selk, executive director for HOPE NOW. “Sixty day delinquencies are also slightly down and we have seen this number decline month over month for over a year. We have also seen the attendance at our face to face community outreach events soften. This is a direct result of the delinquency decline nationwide.”

For the month of March, there were an estimated 45,000 permanent loan modifications completed. Of that total, approximately 32,000 were proprietary loan modifications and 13,179 were completed under HAMP. Total modifications for the month represented a 6% increase from the previous month (43,000).

Of the proprietary loan modifications completed in March 2014, approximately 55% (18,000) had reduced monthly principal and interest payments of more than 10%.

“As more homeowners see improved equity in their property, the need for short sales has also declined. We have seen a dramatic drop in those numbers in the first quarter 2014 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, the steady number of short sales in the first quarter suggests that there are still some borrowers who prefer a graceful exit from the property as opposed to a retention option,” Selk said.