* U.S. loan modifications up 55 pct in Q1 from Q4
* Seriously delinquent mortgages up 9 pct in Q1 from Q4
* Foreclosures in process up 22 pct in Q1 from Q4
WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) - The pace of home loan modifications shot up during the first quarter, but so did mortgage payment delinquencies and foreclosures, U.S. bank regulators said on Tuesday.
The quarterly report on mortgage metrics showed that the quality of modifications improved, with more than half of them resulting in lower monthly principal and interest payments.
But the report released by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision presented mixed signals of improvement and distress as rising unemployment and other economic pressures weighed on borrowers.
“While I’m very concerned about the rise in delinquent mortgages and foreclosure actions, the shift in emphasis by servicers to more sustainable, payment-reducing modifications is a positive step that should show significant benefits in the coming months,” Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said in a statement.
As the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable loan modification plan gains traction, he said, regulators will continue to see progress in future reports.
Another report issued on Tuesday showed that prices of U.S. single-family homes had declined in April from the prior month, but the pace had moderated, according to Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price indexes. That suggested stability was emerging in some regions.
The U.S. government report showed that servicers implemented 185,156 loan modifications during the first quarter, up 55 percent from the prior quarter.
The report also showed that seriously delinquent mortgages, defined as loans that are 60 or more days past due, increased by nearly 9 percent from the prior quarter to 5 percent of all mortgages in the portfolio.
The portfolio includes 34 million loans worth $6 trillion, or about 64 percent of all mortgages in the United States.
Prime loans experienced the biggest increase in serious delinquencies, which rose by more than 20 percent from the prior quarter to 2.9 percent of all such mortgages.
Foreclosures in process increased 22 percent during the first quarter to 844,389, or about 2.5 percent of all serviced loans, the report said. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)