Wednesday, March 11, 2009

California Mortgage Modifications

The Department of Corporations has required mortgage servicers to report their workout and foreclosure prevention effors. Recently the DoC released a report for 2008 as to how to what progress (to them) was being made on the workout front. The good thing about this data is it is California specific, Hope Now is national.

Here are the Trustee Sales (Foreclosures) versus Total Workouts over each month in 2008:

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As you can see from the above charts foreclosures were greatly affected by the various foreclosure moratoriums starting in late July.

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Workout closed by type. This is the end result of the previous graphs Total Workouts line broken down by type. Account paid current means the account was brought back into good standing. Deed-in-lieu means the borrower surrendered the house and the lender voluntarily took it back without a foreclosure sale. Short sale means the borrower agreed to sell the house and the lender agreed to be paid back less than the full amount. Modification means an adjustment to the terms of the loan (see next graphic). Forebearance plan means the lender agrees to not accept payments for a few months and places the balance back onto the end of the loan to give the borrower some breathing room.

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The above graphic is the previous graphics "Modification" line broken down into its constituent parts. I used some abbreviations to save space:
  • IR : Interest Rate - Current Interest Rate for the loan.
  • SR : Start Rate or Initial Rate - Initial Interest Rate for the Loan
  • RR : Reset Rate - Rate at which the loan will reset

One thing that jumps out that Reducing Principal Balance is the lowest line on the chart and effectively zero. If borrowers are expecting significant principal reductions they will be disapointed. It simply won't happen. A borrower looking to stay in a home must expect to pay off the balance in full. While modifications are increasing the borrowers are only getting adjustment in interest rates and amortization length. This still leaves underwater borrowers underwater and unable to move (outside of short sale or foreclosure) or expect to create equity when writing out the monthly mortgage payment. Note on the second graph that the only other upward trending line besides modifications is short sales. I expect this to be the growing part of the market moving forward.

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