Federal programs from Freddie, Mac Fannie Mae continue to help underwater homeowners

As the economy and the national housing market continue to improve, many economists still recognize a full recovery won't be characteristic of 2013.

As the economy and the national housing market continue to improve, many economists still recognize a full recovery won't be characteristic of 2013. However, continued assistance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through federal programs can save millions more homeowners from the foreclosure process.

Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Foreclosure Prevention Report for the third-quarter of 2012 shows more than 2.5 million foreclosure prevention actions have been prevented since 2008. This has allowed around 2.1 million borrowers to remain in their homes, with 1.3 million loan modifications also in the mix.

According to FHFA, nearly 411,000 foreclosure interventions have been completed year-to date, with around 38,000 short sales and deeds-in-lieu completed in the fourth quarter. This figure is up 4 percent from the second quarter of the year.

Additional data shows 45 percent of loan modification made provided homeowners with a payment reduction of 30 percent or more.The agency notes that more than a third of modifications included principal forbearance.

While foreclosure prevention programs continue to help troubled homeowners, all homeowners and prospective buyers benefit from having a lower inventory of delinquent properties on the market. A low inventory of foreclosures helped boost home prices throughout 2012, while property data shows home sales increased significantly, up 15.3 percent from November 2011 to November 2012, despite being a slower time for real estate activity.



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