Permanent Mortgage Mods on the Rise. But Does it Matter?

It's still a relatively small number, but new figures from the U.S. Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development seem to indicate that it may be getting a bit easier for some homeowners facing foreclosure to get a permanent mortgage modification. Permanent mods have been viewed as sort of the holy grail, if you will. But as I shall explain, that's not really the case.

As of January, the latest figures available, 116,000 homeowners now have permanent mortgage payment reductions -- about double the figure from December. Another 76,000 permanent mods are imminent, waiting on just "the borrower's signature," according to a HUD news release.

That has fed officials crowing.