NEW FORECLOSURES JUMP 21 PERCENT IN MARCH
Foreclosure activity increased sharply in March, a sign that lenders are coming to grips with the documentation problems that led to the robo-signing scandal last fall, MortgageLoan.com reported yesterday. Foreclosures were initiated on more than 217,000 homes in March, a 21 percent increase over February's rate, according to information released today by the HOPE NOW alliance. Nearly 85,000 properties were forfeited through foreclosure sales during the month, a 35 percent increase over February. The increase in foreclosures occurred despite a declining trend in mortgage delinquencies. There were 2.63 million residential mortgages at least 60 days past due in March, a 6 percent decline from February's level of 2.78 million, which in turn represented a similar decline from 2.95 million in January. Meanwhile, the number of at-risk homeowners obtaining private mortgage loan modifications from their lenders also increased significantly in March. There was no updated information provided for loan modifications performed through the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP); however, private modifications have recently been outpacing HAMP modifications by about a 3-to-1 ratio.
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