The loan industry’s proprietary loan modification program, HOPE NOW, maintains that it had completed almost twice as many loan modifications as the HAMP program as of January. The total for HOPE NOW during that month was just under 100,000, while HAMP program modifications completed in January numbered 50,364. Of the HOPE NOW loan modifications completed in January, 74 percent included reductions of principal and interest payments.
HOPE NOW has been proactive in gathering paperwork from homeowners to complete permanent modifications. This pro-activity may be one reason for the relative success of this program compared to the government-run loan modification program.
Recently, HUD-approved loan modification counselors in Arizona helped 2700 homeowners in that state to complete paperwork so decisions could be made in a timely manor. HOPE NOW also has an online portal for paperwork to be submitted available to modification counselors in 25 states which has helped to cut the length of time required to approval to 22 days and for denial of claims in 17 days.
California Extends Homebuyer Tax Credit Plan
While the federal homebuyer credit program is in its last few months, California has extended its $10,000 credit for first time buyers and those who buy a newly constructed home in the state between May 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. The California Franchise Tax Board has $100 million for each of these programs and will allow for a credit of 5% of the purchase price up to $10,000. Equal amounts will be applied over three tax years.
To qualify, the home may not be purchased from a relative and the home buyer cannot be a dependent of someone else for tax purposes. The credit will be available first come, first served.
Last year the credit was so popular the program ran out of money within four months and helped 10,659 people buy homes.
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