California Leads States In HAMP Mortgage Modifications
More active trial and permanent modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) took place in California than any other state, according to the US Treasury Department. Regionally, however, the switches to permanent modifications is uneven as Florida and Illinois rounded up the rest of the top three spots. The Treasury launched HAMP in March 2009 to provide capped incentives to servicers for the modification of loans on the verge of foreclosure. Nationwide, more than 116,000 permanent modifications took place through January, up from 66,000 modifications in December. There are more than 830,000 active trial modifications currently under the program. California led all states with more than 191,000 permanent and active trial modifications through January, according to the Treasury. Florida came in second with 116,000. Illinois was third with more than 49,000. In 2009, California ranked fourth in the highest foreclosure rate, according to RealtyTrac. There, one in every 21 homes received a foreclosure filing for the year. Filings include default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions. Florida had the third highest foreclosure rate in 2009, where one in every 17 homes received a notice. Illinois had the ninth highest foreclosure rate with one in every 40 homes receiving a notice, according to RealtyTrac. Based on Treasury estimates, 5.6m homeowners are currently 60 or more days behind on their mortgage. Of those, 1.7m are eligible for HAMP, but that number is expected to increase through 2012 – when HAMP is supposed to end. According to the monthly Treasury report card, however, participating servicers hold more than 3.4m HAMP-eligible mortgages. The Treasury uses this number to gauge the percentage of loans servicers have either put into active trial modifications or provided permanent relief for. All HAMP modifications include an interest rate reduction to get a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio down to 31% after the modification. For those that needed further modification, 41.7% received a term extension on their loan, and 27.4% received principal forbearance. The average median monthly payment for borrowers dropped to $835 from $1,431 before entering the program. Write to Jon Prior.