For the entire year of 2012, mortgage lenders completed more than 850,000 home loan modifications, while the industry as a whole kept on pushing for other alternatives to foreclosure, such as short sales, according to recent data from HOPE NOW, an alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers, and nonprofit counselors.

Out of the 850,034 completed mods, 661,363 were proprietary modifications, and 188,671 were through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), data from HOPE NOW revealed. For all of 2011, services completed 1.05 million mods. As of 2007, the number now stands at 6.06 million modifications, of which 1.1 million mods were through HAMP.

Since 2009, the industry has seen 1.15 million short sales, with 422,605 short sales occurring in 2012 alone. In 2011, completed short sales reached 372,168.

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“In the past year, there has been unprecedented work from the industry with respect to short sales as a viable mortgage solution,” said Eric Selk, executive director of HOPE NOW. “For example, many mortgage servicers have staffed our borrower events with short sale specialists in order to help train real estate agents and created intake portals specifically for the short sale process.”

In San Diego and other California cities, real estate agents can take advantage of the California Association of Realtors’ (C.A.R’s) Short Sale Assistance Desk (SSAD), which offers a simple solution to this often complex and difficult process. The SSAD allows agents to submit cases directly to Fannie Mae, provided that Fannie Mae is the primary lender for said short sales cases, and that the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has an agreement with Fannie Mae to use the SSAD.

Loan Delinquencies Also Decreased Last Year

HOPE NOW also reported foreclosure starts and completed foreclosure sales decreased in 2012 compared to 2011. For all of 2012, foreclosure starts numbered 1.92 million, down 14.8 percent from 2.25 million in 2011. Completed foreclosures fell 7.3 percent to 779,220 in 2012 from 840,186 in 2011.

Loans in danger of falling into foreclosure status decreased as well as the inventory of 60-plus delinquencies shrunk in December 2012 from 2011. At the end of 2012, 2.52 million loans were past due 60 or more days, down 9.6 percent from 2.79 million during the same time in 2011. The findings are based on data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

On a quarterly basis, completed loan modifications increased while foreclosure starts and sales were on the decline. From Q3 to Q4 in 2012, completed mods reached 185,608, representing an 8.3 percent quarterly increase.

Foreclosure starts plunged 27.2 percent in Q4 to 363,499, down from 499,362 in Q3, while foreclosure sales fell 3.6 percent to 188,814 in Q4.

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