Foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation efforts at government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were led by short sales and modifications in May, according to the latest report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Completed short sales were at their highest reported level in May, with Freddie completing 3,000 — level with the previous month — and Fannie completing 7,000 — up from 6,000 in April. These high levels of short sales, along with a jump in modifications, drove many of the completed foreclosure prevention actions in May.

The GSEs completed 66,000 loan modifications in May, up from 47,000 in April. Forbearance plans remained unchanged at 7,000 in the month. Repayment plans declined to 13,000, from 18,000 in April.

Although completed loan modifications increased substantially in May, the cumulative volume of Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) permanent mods declined for the second consecutive month, due to canceled three-month trial plans.

The monthly volume of Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) workouts also fell in May along with overall refinance volume.

The GSEs completed 200,869 total refinancings in May — 1.15m so far in all of 2010. They completed 26,780 HARP refinancings for loan-to-value (LTV) ratios between 80% and 105%. They also completed 1,881 HARP refinancings for LTVs between 105% and 125%.

While short sales and modifications drove workout efforts — despite falling HAMP and HARP numbers — 60-plus-day delinquency rates declined slightly in May. The 60-day delinquency rate among borrowers with an original credit score below 660 declined to 14.8%, from 14.9% in April, FHFA said. The rate among those with original credit scores above 660 remained low, at 4% in May.

Write to Diana Golobay.

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