The Department of Housing and Urban Development pushed back against a report from Lender Processing Services (LPS) showing a spike in foreclosures on Federal Housing Administration mortgages.
LPS Analytics data showed a 73% increase in FHA foreclosures for the month of April to 63,129 filings for the entire month.
A HUD spokesman said late Thursday that its latest data for the month shows less than 19,000 foreclosure filings were started on FHA-backed loans, actually decreasing 11% from the previous month.
"LPS does not cover all outstanding FHA loans, so it needs to extrapolate its data to the population," the HUD spokesman said. "Although LPS is experienced in adjusting for less than full coverage, we believe that their extrapolation factor to adjust to the FHA population may be contributing to their overestimate."
Herb Blecher, senior vice president for LPS Applied Analytics, stood by the report but said they are working with FHA on the different numbers.
"LPS has every confidence in its data and believes that there is likely a simple explanation for the difference between our numbers and FHA's reported foreclosure starts for April," Blecher said in a statement Friday. "We have reached out to the FHA directly on this, and will share our findings as soon as we have a definitive answer."
HUD still expects new filings to increase as mortgage servicers correct documentation and other foreclosure abuses.The graph, created using HUD data, below shows monthly foreclosure starts on FHA loans going back to November (click to expand).
Federal regulators and state attorneys general settled with the largest firms this year for $25 billion and a set of new standards to monitored over the next three years.
"We expected an increase in foreclosure starts. As the parties to the servicing settlement begin to restart the foreclosure process for loans that were subject to the settlement, we have anticipated an uptick in foreclosure start activity," a HUD spokesman said. "Thus, the elevated numbers we've seen from February on are not surprising. Nor will it be surprising if those numbers tick up further."