An estimated 74,000 homeowners received mortgage modifications in January, down 27% from a year earlier, when 101,000 borrowers successfully completed trials.

The data, released Monday by Hope Now, show mortgage servicers completed about 56,000 proprietary loan modifications for homeowners and almost 18,000 Home Affordable Modification Program modifications, as reported by the Treasury Department.

By comparison, the number of modifications done by Wells Fargo (WFC) (both active and completed) was slightly more than 5,000 in January, down from just less than 14,000 in January 2011.

While Wells Fargo numbers include those homeowners still in the trial phase — homeowners given mods participate in a three-month trial before their mods become permanent to test if the homeowners will pay — the numbers still reflect a major downturn in the number of loan modifications. 

Hope Now said proprietary loan modifications in January “continued to show characteristics of sustainability, which the majority having lower principal and interest monthly payments as well as fixed interest rates of five years or more.” This is consistent with data from prior months.

The data also show foreclosure sales slightly overtook loan modifications for the first time since October 2009. In January, there were about 79,000 completed foreclosure sales. The number of foreclosures sales last January was about 73,000, which was outpaced by the number of loan modifications. 

Delinquencies of more than 60 days stayed flat with a year ago at about 2.77 million or about 6% of all loans.