Federal mortgage modification programs aimed at helping homeowners avoid foreclosures have been harmed because "banks have not implemented them in a consistent and aggressive way," U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said Wednesday.
"We've seen too many people who have had their paperwork lost two or three times, too many people while they're working on a modification get a foreclosure notice from the bank and end up getting pushed out of their houses," said Donovan. "That has been happening too often."
Donovan, speaking to The Tribune editorial board, said HUD, other federal agencies and attorneys general of all 50 states are negotiating a legal agreement with mortgage loan lenders and note servicers that would change the way they interact with homeowners and require them to modify more mortgages.
He also said that a slight uptick in job creation and the slowing pace of foreclosures should lead to an increase in home prices after drastic declines brought on by the bursting of the real estate bubble.
"My reading of the data and where we are is I'd expect to start seeing a sustained recovery later this year, not next year," Donovan said. "But obviously there are lots of variables."
The Salt Lake Tribune