Private sector sees increased mortgage modification activity

Government-sponsored enterprises have offered more than 1 million mortgage modifications to struggling borrowers since 2008, but as the industry shifts back toward the private sector, one lender is gaining ground on this total.

Government-sponsored enterprises have offered more than 1 million mortgage modifications to struggling borrowers since 2008, but as the industry shifts back toward the private sector, one lender is gaining ground on this total.

Since the start of the housing market collapse, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed an estimated 1.2 million modifications. Meanwhile, as of the end of August, Wells Fargo completed 803,456, the company reports.

Mortgage records indicate roughly 84 percent of the modifications handled by Wells Fargo were completed through programs created by the company itself, while the remainder utilized government initiatives, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Following a loan restructure, nearly 93 percent of borrowers stayed current on payments, the report said. Just 2 percent defaulted on their mortgages and subsequently entered the foreclosure process in the last 12 months.

Additionally, Wells Fargo helped nearly 6.7 million borrowers capitalize on affordable mortgage rates to refinance and purchase property.

Fixed mortgage rates reach all-time lows
Mortgage rates have remained below 4 percent for all but one week so far this year, providing a number of options for consumers. 

Most recently, during the week ending October 4, the rate for a 30-year FRM averaged 3.36 percent, down from 3.4 percent, according to a report from Freddie Mac. In addition, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages hovered near 2.69 percent, which was also a decline from a week earlier.

"Fixed mortgage rates fell again this week to all-time record lows due to the mortgage securities purchases by the Federal Reserve and indicators of a weakening economy," said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft. "The final estimate of growth in Gross Domestic Product was revised down to 1.3 percent in the second quarter, representing the slowest growth in a year."

Meanwhile, five- and one-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.72 and 2.57 percent, respectively, the report said.

An estimated 40 percent of borrowers expect fixed mortgage rates to increase significantly in the next 12 months, despite the Federal Reserve's implementation of QE3. This could result in an influx of mortgage demand, and further contribute to the housing market recovery.



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