HOPE Now, founded in 2007 as an early response to the growing threat of foreclosures, continues to negotiate loan modifications in double-digit numbers for distressed homeowners.  The voluntary, private sector alliance made up of loan servicers, loan investors, mortgage insurers, and non-profit housing counselors arranged for 42,000 homeowners to receive permanent loan modifications in February vs. 44,000 in January.  That number includes 30,000 proprietary modifications and an additional 12,445 done through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

While the program continues to respond to the need for foreclosure prevention, administrators note steady declines in both foreclosure starts, which fell to 69,000 during the month from 75,000 in January and foreclosure sales which numbered 36,000, down from 48,000 the previous month.  Both totals were the lowest since HOPE NOW began reporting seven years ago.

HOPE Now has completed approximately 6.93 million modifications over that period. About 5.6 million were proprietary modifications and 1.34 million were done through HAMP which started two years later.   

Serious delinquencies (60 days or more) were under two million for the second straight month - at approximately 1.98 million.  HOPE NOW said this number is yet another indicator of the progress made in stabilizing the housing market. For comparison purposes, there were 4.13 million homeowners who were 60 or more days delinquent in December of 2009 - more than twice the current number. 

The organization also facilitated 11,000 completed short sales during the month, a decrease of 8 percent from the 12,000 completed in January.  There were 2,300 borrowers who exited homeownership through a deed-in-lieu, down from 2,500 in January.

Eric Selk, Executive Director of HOPE Now said, "Mortgage solution data collection continues to be a focus for HOPE NOW. We are pleased by the efforts of our servicer members, non-profit partners and government partners on behalf of struggling homeowners. Even with serious delinquencies in decline, the industry continues to offer homeowners a multitude of sustainable and viable solutions that are alternatives to foreclosure.