The low percentage of trial modifications that have become permanent illustrate that the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, may not be making a long-term dent in foreclosure activity. The Department of the Treasury released its seventh report card on how mortgage lenders are doing modifying loans for eligible homeowners under the government’s Making Home Affordable program (see the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth report cards).
The HAMP program starts out participants in three-to five-month trial modifications, and if they submit all the necessary paperwork and make payments on time, they are supposed to be entered into a permanent modification. Treasury started reporting on permanent modifications by servicer in the November report card, and last month, they released numbers on permanent modifications by state and metropolitan area.
In the Chicagoland Metropolitan Statistical Area, 48,064 trial and permanent modifications have started, up only 7 percent from 44,942 last month. In contrast, national trial and permanent modifications increased 11 percent from December to January. The Chicago metro area is also lagging behind the national average in converting trial to permanent modifications. As of January, 12.3% of trial modifications have become permanent nationally, while 11.2% of trial modifications have become permanent in Chicago. Of the top ten metropolitan areas with the most HAMP activity, Chicago is number nine in converting trial to permanent modifications, which is the same rank as last month (see chart below).