Hope Now, a private alliance of mortgage servicers, insurers and nonprofit counselors, released data showing 245,000 homeowners benefited from permanent loan modifications in the first quarter of 2013.

That is up 20% from an estimated 203,000 modifications in 1Q of 2012.

Of those completed mods, 42,157 involved borrowers who went through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

Since 2007, Hope Now has documented 6.32 million loan modifications, with more than 5 million of those mortgages handled through servicers' proprietary programs. Another 1.2 million loans went through the government's HAMP program over the course of the past six years.

Foreclosure activity, on the other hand, declined in Q1, with foreclosure starts falling 12% to 472,000, down from 534,000 a year ago.

Foreclosure sales also declined 22%, hitting 162,000 transactions, a decline from 210,000 a year prior.

The number of completed short sales also fell by 16%, falling to 84,000 short sales from 100,000 in 1Q of 2012.  

Of the proprietary loan mods handled by servicers, 90%, or approximately 69,000 loans, involved a transition into fixed-interest rates of five years or more, Hope Now said. 

About 85% included reduced principal and interest monthly payments, while loan mods with reduced principal and interest payments of more than 10% accounted for 75% of the total.