Nearly one-third of all government loan modifications are in five metropolitan areas. Monthly U.S. activity sank to the lowest level on record based on the latest data.
As of Jan. 31, there were 768,773 active permanent modifications completed under the Home Affordable Modification Program. A month earlier, the total was 762,839.
The gains have been shrinking even as the permanent modifications started have cumulatively climbed to 951,000 during January from 933,000 in December and 608,000 in January 2011.
The struggle to gain momentum reflects the 182,546 permanent modifications that have canceled because the borrowers missed three consecutive payments or, as in the case of 3,124 mortgages, paid off the loans.
January’s biggest gain was at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., where active permanent modifications in place rose by 4,383. Chase retreated from the previous month’s 5,149 gain.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., was No. 2, with more 1,055 HAMPs in place than in December. Wells Fargo edged down from a gain of 1,159 the prior month.
American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. followed with 620 more HAMPs than it started the month with, then a gain of 553 at OneWest Bank and a 230 increase at CitiMortgage Inc.
Bank of America, N.A., backtracked, with its active permanent HAMPs falling by 3,750 in January.
Of all metropolitan statistical areas, the one with the most active permanent modifications in January was the Los Angeles area. The region, which also includes Long Beach and Santa Ana, had 59,161 active permanent modifications as of the end of January.
New York was next with 48,873 government modifications in place.
The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area of California had 40,067 active permanent HAMPs, while there were 39,576 active permanent modifications in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin area and 39,041 in Miami.
The aggregate for the top-five MSAs was 226,718 during January, accounting for 29 percent of the U.S. total.