It may be no surprise that some banks are still seeing increases in foreclosure starts and completions, as homeowners continue to struggle with their payments, some delinquencies are on the rise once again, and a backlog of foreclosures still remains on the housing market, which means that continued foreclosure processes will be seen for some time, even in areas where the majority of homeowners may be finding themselves in a more advantageous financial position. However, for GMAC Mortgage, data released here in October from the Treasury Department has shown that, specifically for homeowners facing foreclosure after a failed attempt at a modification, there are continued starts and completions being seen and rising.
For homeowners with GMAC Mortgage whose trial modification was canceled, the number of starts as of July had increased to a cumulative total of 1,735, with the number of completions increasing to 1,620. Yet, homeowners who were not accepted for a trial modification also saw increases as foreclosure starts rose to a cumulative program total of 16,402 with foreclosure completions standing at 12,912.
While it should be kept in mind that homeowners with GMAC Mortgage outside of these areas of criteria are also still facing foreclosure, this does not mean that options for foreclosure prevention no longer remain for GMAC homeowners, nor is it an indication that when foreclosures are continuing to increase with other servicers that those homeowners have no options as well. What we have seen in terms of foreclosure prevention is that some banks are simply having trouble with homeowners defaulting even after a modified payment is given, some homeowners are having trouble when it comes to communicating with their servicer or submitting paperwork, but there are also other areas like unemployment that may put both a servicer and homeowner in a situation where there are few opportunities that could potentially be available.
Many major banks will offer homeowners options from the Making Home Affordable initiative that may go beyond these modifications, like an unemployment forbearance option in cases where homeowners are jobless and may qualify for this extension program, but some may get help from in-house programs as well, which are obviously not associated with the federal modification plan but may mirror benefits for some. It should be kept in mind though, homeowners with various servicers are not always going to benefit from even private modification plans or foreclosure prevention efforts, as some reports indicate that we are seeing more homeowners fall behind on their payments once again within these proprietary programs.
Yet, homeowners are being urged to continue their efforts in the foreclosure prevention process, rather than just resigning themselves to foreclosure if one particular route is closed, as many major mortgage servicers are still in a position to offer plans that go beyond federal modifications, which may help some when it comes to avoiding the loss of their home as a result of financial setbacks.