Delinquent Mortgages and Foreclosures Slip Slightly, but ‘Still Bad’: MBA

The share of US mortgages in foreclosure or at least 30 days delinquent slipped to 14.01% in Q110, from 15.02% in the previous quarter, according to the quarterly survey out today from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The delinquency rate on one-to-four-unit residential units rose to a seasonally adjusted 10.06% at the end of the quarter, up 59 basis points (bps) from Q409 and up 94 bps from the same time last year. The serious delinquency rate of loans 90+ days past due or in foreclosure slipped 13 bps from last quarter to 9.54%, but is up 230 bps from the same period last year. The highest overall delinquency rates were in Nevada (14.03%), Mississippi (12.7%) and Georgia (12.1%). Serious delinquency rates were highest in Nevada and Florida: The share of loans on which foreclosure actions began during the first quarter rose 3 bps from the previous quarter to 1.23%. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the quarter rose to 4.63%, a record high. Half the states saw an increase in the rate of foreclosure starts on a year-over-year basis, with the largest increases in Oregon, North Carolina and Maryland. The largest decreases occurred in Florida, Rhode Island and California. MBA chief economist Jay Brinkmann, in a call on the quarterly report, noted a trend of “pretty flat quarter-to-quarter” delinquency rates, which reflects current trends in employment levels. “The economy has begun to generate jobs and layoffs have declined, although new claims for unemployment insurance remained higher in the first quarter than we expected,” Brinkmann said in a statement. “The percent of loans behind one payment had been declining as first-time claims for unemployment began falling in March 2009. Those new claims stopped falling during the first quarter of this year, which likely halted the decline in the underlying 30-day delinquency rate.” He added: “If mortgage delinquencies are not yet clearly improving, it also appears they are not getting worse. However, a bad situation that is not getting worse is still bad.” Write to Diana Golobay.

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