9% of homeowners are late with bill or in foreclosure, study says

WASHINGTON – An industry group says a record 9.2% of American homeowners with a mortgage were either behind on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of June, as damage from the housing crisis continued to mount.

The latest quarterly snapshot by the Mortgage Bankers Association on Friday broke records for late payments, homes entering the foreclosure process and for the inventory of loans in foreclosure.

The percentage of loans at least 30 days past due or in foreclosure was up from 8.8% in the January-March quarter, and up from 6.5% a year earlier.

In one bit of positive news, delinquencies on subprime adjustable-rate loans dipped 1 percentage point from the first quarter to 21%.

The seasonally adjusted foreclosure starts rate, the percentage of loans that entered the foreclosure process during the April-June quarter, was 1.19%, up from 0.99% in the first three months of 2008 and 0.65% in the second quarter of 2007.

The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the second quarter was 2.75%, up from 2.47% in the first quarter and from 1.40% in the second quarter of 2007.

“The national foreclosure numbers continue to be driven by the hardest-hit states continuing to get much worse,” Jay Brinkmann, the association’s chief economist and senior vice president for research and economics, said in a news release.

The increases in foreclosures in California and Florida overwhelmed improvements in states such as Texas, Massachusetts and Maryland, he said.

For the quarter, a majority of the states saw relatively little change one way or the other, with California and Florida alone accounting for 39% of all of the foreclosures started in the country during the second quarter and 73% of the increase in foreclosures between the first and second quarters, he said.

The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate of 6.41% was the highest since at least 1979, which was when the trade group began its current method of measuring failing home loans.

The increase in the overall delinquency rate was driven by increases in the number of loans 90 or more days past due, primarily in California and Florida. The 30-day delinquency percentage remains below levels seen as recently as 2002, the MBA said.

Contributing: Reuters
By Alan Zibel, AP Business Writer
Sept. 05. 2008

Source: USA Today

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