Increase in GSE foreclosure prevention actions driven by hurricanes

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had a 9% increase in total foreclosure prevention actions taken during 2017 as a result of three September hurricanes, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

This was accomplished through a 2,000% increase in the number of forbearance plans offered in the fourth quarter, as the government-sponsored enterprises offered 24,935 forbearance plans to homeowners late on their mortgage, compared with 1,212 in the third quarter. Most of those borrowers were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria.

For the year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offered 29,987 forbearance plans versus 7,228 for all of 2016.

Loan modifications were the most used tool to keep borrowers in their homes, with 128,625 taking place in 2017, up from 123,495 in 2016. Principal forbearance, along with a reduced interest rate and an extended term, was used in 42% of the modifications, while 42% had an extended term only. Almost all of the remaining modifications had a reduced rate and extended term.

There were 30,506 repayment plans offered, down from 32,357.

Meanwhile, the number of short sales and deed-in-lieu resolutions fell to 16,470 from 25,784 in 2016.

GSE loans that were between 30 and 59 days late on their payments fell to 438,299 at the end of the fourth quarter from 440,534 at the end of the third.

But the number of loans 60 days or more late increased to 458,824 on Dec. 31, 2017, from 368,182 on Sept. 30, 2017. This total included 328,845 loans that were 90 days or more delinquent or in the foreclosure process at the end of 2017, up from 246,642 three months earlier.

The GSEs' seriously delinquent loan rate increased 23 basis points to 1.18% at the end of the fourth quarter from the third quarter. However, this was still lower than the 4.8% seriously delinquent loan rate for Federal Housing Administration-insured loans and 2.4% for Veterans Affairs-guaranteed loans, the FHFA said.

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GSEs Loan modifications Mortgage defaults Distressed Foreclosures Hurricane Harvey Hurricane Irma Hurricane Maria FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac