Mortgage Modifications Slip in July as Home Prices Level Off

Mortgage Modifications Slip in July
Mortgage Modifications Slip in July

Fewer Americans received home-loan modifications in July under the Obama administration's program to reduce foreclosures and delinquencies. A government report released Friday showed that 36,695 households received long-term mortgage modifications last month, compared to more than 51,000 in June.

Further, the number of Americans falling out of the Home Affordable Modification Program increased. Some 12,912 homeowners had their permanent modifications canceled in July, only 272 of whom paid off their loans, CNN reported.

The report said home prices steadied in July after 30 consecutive months of decline, with some areas actually gaining some ground. Still, the Obama administration's Housing Scorecard said the U.S. housing market remains fragile, with serious delinquencies as well as foreclosures on the rise.

"While there has been some stabilization in the housing market, it remains clear that we have more work ahead," said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. "We know that we must continue to provide support to underwater borrowers, unemployed homeowners and to the nation's hardest hit neighborhoods."

The report noted there have been more than twice as many loan modifications (3.15 million) as there were foreclosures (1.24 million) from April 2009 through the end of June. It also said that more than 4.2 million households have benefited from counseling since the program's inception in February 2009.

Still, with the economic recovery seemingly halted, the need for foreclosure-prevention programs has taken on renewed importance. A rise in foreclosures, along with weak home sales, could send home prices down further.