HOPE NOW's July data estimates that 1.77 million homeowners received workout solutions to avoid foreclosure since January

It estimates a 20% improvement in foreclosure mitigation activity in July 2009 compared with July 2007, when it started tracking data. This, according to HOPE NOW, shows a clear trend in the drop of foreclosure sales to starts over time.

This also demonstrates that the pace of workout solutions is rising. HOPE NOW Alliance members and the broader mortgage industry are helping more and more borrowers out of foreclosure. Even though there is more work to be done, the data shows that mortgage servicers and their partners are responding to this ever increasing challenge, according to HOPE NOW.

While foreclosure starts rose slightly from 251,340 in June to 283,682, in July, completed foreclosure sales dropped from 92, 661 to 89,173. The 60-day plus delinquencies slightly increased by 5.9% or by 3.1 million homeowners in July.

"The good news is that in July, over 253,000 borrowers were helped through loan work out solutions, while foreclosure sales dropped. This demonstrates the industry's commitment to finding solutions to help people stay in their homes when possible," said Faith Schwartz, Executive Director of HOPE NOW. "Foreclosure intervention is working and we continue to urge at-risk borrowers to contact their lender/mortgage servicer or call the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline at 888-995-HOPE, a trusted resource for help."

In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury reported that servicers initiated 230,000 trial modifications in July.

Successful trial loan modifications that complete the 90-day Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) payment terms and completely documented as final modifications will be included in future HOPE NOW modification data. It is expected that modification numbers will rise in HOPE NOW industry survey reports in the coming months. The industry stays committed to the administration’s goal of completing 500,000 loan modifications by Nov. 1.

July also saw loan modifications lowered from 93,921 in June to 80,167. Repayment plans dipped as well in July to 173,506 from 211,882 in June. The downward trend in the last few months is a result of servicers retooling and refocusing efforts to aggressively execute and offer the Obama administration's HAMP solution.

"We are encouraged by the number of HAMP trial modifications being offered by servicers. Once those trial modifications become permanent, we expect the overall number of loan modifications for borrowers to increase," Schwartz said. "Our HOPE NOW servicers and the mortgage industry, at large, are working hard to provide borrowers with solutions that best suit each individual situation. With unemployment expected to be a problem for a growing number of borrowers, the industry is exploring new solutions to help the increasing number of homeowners who may have difficulty paying their mortgage because of job loss or a reduction in income."

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