Who is eligible for principal reduction? New report sheds light on groundbreaking program

Just how many borrowers are eligible? Where are they located?

When the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced earlier this year that it was going forward with a groundbreaking plan to offer principal reduction to a select number of borrowers, the details on who exactly would be eligible were somewhat scarce, outside of the stipulations for the program provided by the FHFA.

At the time, the FHFA said that the only borrowers whose loans are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are eligible to have their principal reduced.

Additionally, the FHFA said that principal reductions are only being made available to owner-occupant borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent as of March 1, 2016, and that the program will only apply to borrowers whose mortgages have an outstanding unpaid principal balance of $250,000 or less, and whose mark-to-market loan-to-value ratios are more than 115%.

Under those rules, the FHFA said that approximately 33,000 borrowers were going to be eligible for the “final crisis-era modification program.”

As it turns out, the number is eligible borrowers is actually less than that.

A new report, published Monday by the FHFA, states that the FHFA now estimates that more than 30,000 borrowers will be eligible nationwide – 30,761 to be exact.

According to the FHFA report, the reduction can be attributed to “the fact that the housing market is continuously evolving and may have improved in some areas.” 

But where exactly are those eligible borrowers located? According to the FHFA report, eligible borrowers “tend to be concentrated in communities across the country that have not yet fully recovered from the foreclosure crisis, especially in states with long foreclosure timelines.”

The new FHFA report actually sheds more light on that, showing the top ten states where the most eligible borrowers are.

According to the FHFA report, the top ten states with the most potentially eligible borrowers can be found in:

Florida – 6,260 potentially eligible borrowers

New Jersey – 6,257 potentially eligible borrowers

New York – 2,823 potentially eligible borrowers

Illinois – 2,434 potentially eligible borrowers

Ohio – 1,214 potentially eligible borrowers

Pennsylvania – 1,109 potentially eligible borrowers

Nevada – 1,032 potentially eligible borrowers

Maryland – 726 potentially eligible borrowers

Connecticut – 703 potentially eligible borrowers

Massachusetts – 682 potentially eligible borrowers

The FHFA report also provides more detail on the delinquency status, loan balances, and loan-to-value ratios of the eligible borrowers.

In Florida, for example, the 6,260 potentially eligible borrowers have an average loan balance of $156,719, an average LTV of 158%, and are an average of 1,590 days delinquent, which is nearly 4.5 years.

In New Jersey, the 6,257 potentially eligible borrowers have an average loan balance of $171,403, an average LTV of 163%, and are an average of 1,791 days delinquent, which is almost 5 years.

According to the FHFA, the principal reduction modification terms include capitalization of outstanding arrearages, an interest rate reduction down to the current market rate, an extension of the loan term to 40 years, and forbearance of principal and/or arrearages up to a certain amount to be converted later to forgiveness.

Eligible borrowers should expect a letter from their mortgage servicer about a principal reduction no later than Oct. 15, 2016, the FHFA said.

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