Mortgage servicers processed 35,167 loan modifications in January, down about 5% from 36,639 in December, according to HOPE NOW, a voluntary, private-sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and nonprofit counselors.
Of those, about 24,402 were completed under proprietary programs while about 10,765 were completed under the government's Home Affordable Modification Program.
All together, servicers completed about 158,194 foreclosure prevention actions in January, compared to 155,079 in December.
Foreclosure starts held steady in January at about 80,000, according to HOPE NOW's data.
Foreclosure sales, however, increased to about 36,000 in January – a jump of about 19% compared to 29,000 in December.
There were about 8,000 short sales in January – down 20% compared to about 10,000 in December.
Approximately 2,000 deeds-in-lieu were completed in January – about the same number that were completed in December.
The number of serious delinquencies remained unchanged for the month at approximately 1.90 million.
In a statement, Erik Selk, executive director for HOPE NOW, points out that the increase in foreclosure sales is partly a function of improving foreclosure timelines resulting from shrinking foreclosure volume.
‘Although the foreclosure sales jumped in January, all homeowners have been reviewed for various loss mitigation options,’ he says. ‘This is also a reflection of the effect that mediation has on foreclosure timelines in several states.’
Selk says that during two recent HOPE NOW events in California, each with about 500 attendees, it was determined that about half the attendees were delinquent on their mortgages and about 25% were unemployed.
‘In addition to our loss mitigation events, our members are working on new initiatives with us, such as community repair and loan originations, designed to further stabilize the housing market,’ Selk says. ‘We expect to roll out more detailed plans for these projects in the near future.’