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Private mortgage modifications drop 20% in February

Mortgage servicers completed 20% fewer modifications through private programs in February than the month before, according to the Hope Now alliance.

Roughly 44,500 home loans were modified in February, down from 55,700 in January. Workouts also declined 28% from the nearly 61,000 private mods completed in February 2011, according to Hope Now, an alliance of mortgage servicers, investors and housing counselors.

But foreclosures, too, are still paused as servicers adjust to new requirements under the national attorneys general settlement, but the declines are not as drastic.

The 69,000 foreclosure sales dipped 12.6% from 79,000 sales the month before and 5% from one year ago. Servicers started 167,000 foreclosures in February, down 16% from the month before and a roughly 6% decline from February 2011.

Meanwhile, delinquencies continue to inch downward. Hope Now reported 2.66 million home loans behind by 60 days or more, down from 2.77 million in January — which was roughly the same level from the comparable year-ago figures.

“There are many moving parts in the foreclosure prevention process and we anticipate that one month will not define any significant trends,” said Hope Now Executive Director Faith Schwartz. “However, one of our key data points showed that we saw a decline in the total number of serious delinquencies — loans that are 60 or more days past due — for February.”

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