FHFA prevention actions surpassed 52K in Q4 2022

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released on Thursday its Fourth Quarter 2022 Foreclosure Prevention and Refinance Report, stating that government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 52,469 foreclosure prevention actions in Q4 2022.

That figure increases the total number of GSE-assisted homeowners to 6,712,833 since the start of the conservatorship in September 2008, which placed control of Fannie and Freddie with the FHFA.

According to the report, about 37% of the loan modifications completed in Q4 reduced borrowers’ monthly payments by at or over 20%. Rising rates led to a reduction in mortgage refinances during that quarter, declining to 111,251 in Q4 2022, down from 194,189 the previous quarter.

There was also a slight reduction in the serious delinquency rate from Q3 to Q4, dropping from 0.68% to 0.65% by the end of the fourth quarter. Comparatively, the serious delinquency rate for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans was 4.4% in Q4, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans rate was at 2.43%, and at 1.89% for all loans based on the industry average.

The report also outlines loan forbearance information for the last quarter of 2022, when there were 81,173 loans in forbearance — accounting for approximately 0.26% of the GSEs’ single-family conventional book of business. This translates to a slight uptick from 78,432 (0.25%) at the end of Q3 2022, with 3% of these loans in forbearance for 12 months or more.

The 60-plus day mortgage performance delinquency rate also saw a slight increase from Q3 to Q4, climbing from 0.83% at the end of third quarter to 0.84% at the end of the fourth quarter last year. These rates remain slightly elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels due to forbearance programs that were offered to borrowers during the pandemic, the FHFA said.

Q4 also saw an increase in foreclosure starts during Q4, which rose 8% to 18,693, though third-party and foreclosure sales dropped commensurately by 8% to 3,297 in the same period.

The GSEs’ real estate-owned (REO) inventory increased 7% from 10,251 in Q3 to 10,997 in Q4 due to REO acquisitions outpacing property dispositions. Total property acquisitions decreased 9% to 1,706 as dispositions decreased by 2% to 977 in Q4.

“Total refinance volume decreased in December 2022 as mortgage rates remained near the October peak of 6.9%,” the report states. “Mortgage rates fell in December: the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage decreased to 6.36% from a November level of 6.81%.”

The total percentage of borrowers who refinanced to a shorter-term, 15-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased by 9% in December. The difference between 15- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 0.67% in November, according to the report.

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