Hope Now Report Shows Dip in Foreclosure Sales

Foreclosure starts jumped during the first quarter but slowed considerably in March, according to a new report by the Hope Now servicer alliance.

Servicers initiated 472,000 foreclosure starts in the first quarter, up 30% from the prior quarter. But the number of foreclosure starts fell to 115,600 in March from 191,600 in February. Overall, foreclosure starts are down 12% from 1Q 2012.

Meanwhile, foreclosures sales are down nearly 23% from a year ago.

Hope Now servicers sold 161,640 REO properties during the first quarter, compared to 209,650 in the same period in 2012.

Hope Now executive director Eric Selk noted that loan modifications and short sales exceeded foreclosure sales by a 2-to-1 margin.

“The total number of permanent loan modifications completed by Hope Now servicing members on behalf of homeowners, coupled with short sales, significantly outpaced foreclosure sales in the first quarter,” Selk said Wednesday in releasing the Hope Now first-quarter report.

Servicers completed 83,400 short sales and 244,930 loan modifications in the first quarter. Most were proprietary loan mods. Just 42,160 were HAMP mods.