Private Sector Modifications Increase 10% in June
The housing industry conducted 123,000 permanent modifications through private programs in June, a 10% increase from the 112,000 done in May, according to Hope Now, a private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, insurers and nonprofit counselors. Homeowners who fall out of the Treasury Department's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or fail to qualify for it are moved through these proprietary modification efforts. There have been 975,000 private and HAMP permanent modifications done so far in 2010. Of those, 331,083 were done through HAMP, according to the June report from the Treasury. Since Hope Now began surveying its members in July 2007, there have been 3.4m permanent modifications through private programs and HAMP. “Hope Now’s June data continues to show the mortgage industry’s commitment to keeping as many homeowners as possible in their homes," said Faith Schwartz, senior adviser for Hope Now. She added that servicers offered principal and interest rate reduction on almost 80% of the private modifications. Hope Now also reported a 7% monthly decrease in foreclosure starts in June and a 9% drop in completed foreclosure sales from the previous month. But REO inventories, or the amount of properties repossessed by the banks, increased 5% in June and reached the second highest level ever in July, according to RealtyTrac, which monitors the data. Hope LoanPort, which connects housing counselors with these mortgage servicers and originated in the Hope Now technology committee, has signed up more than 1,300 housing counselors and recently gave a preview of its latest updates. Write to Jon Prior.