Hope Now Sees Modifications Slip 5% Since May
Despite the servicing industry's efforts to modify mortgage loans through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), foreclosure sales continued to rise in June. A significant obstacle to reporting the progress of HAMP lies in the requirement that modifications remain in a three-month trial period before being considered complete. While the 90-day waiting period allows some time for the performance of the modified loan to become clear, it has a muddying effect on the loan workout data collected by certain industry groups. HOPE NOW, the private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, non-profit counselors and investors, touted 310,000 completed workout solutions for struggling borrowers in June. The figure represents a 25% increase over May's data, which was 4% below the month before. For the second consecutive month, the distribution of workout efforts between technical modifications and repayment plans remains skewed from ratios typically reported by the alliance. Modifications slipped 5.1% in June while repayment plans jumped 44.9% from a month earlier. The alliance again attributed the swing toward repayment plans primarily to servicer participation in HAMP and the three-month trial period required before the status of the loan can be considered "modified." The industry completed 93,924 foreclosure sales in June, 13% more than in May. The alliance's data for the first time showed prime foreclosure sales outpacing subprime foreclosure sales two to one. At the same time, early foreclosures decreased slightly -- by 1.2% -- to 254,000 in June. Delinquencies of borrowers more than 60 days behind on payments rose from about 3m to 3.1m in June. Write to Diana Golobay.