A May 16 report from the Mortgage Bankers Association added another bright note to the housing market, with the percentage of U.S. homeowners behind on their mortgages falling to the lowest level since 2008. The delinquency rate for residential mortgage loans decreased 7.4% during the first quarter of 2012.
Foreclosures are not improving at the same rate, however. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process as of March 31 was 4.4%, relatively unchanged from the previous quarter and down one basis point from 4.5% a year ago.
“Mortgage delinquencies normally fall during the first quarter of the year, but the declines we saw were even greater than the normal seasonal adjustments would predict, so delinquencies are clearly continuing to improve,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's VP research and economics. “Newer delinquencies, loans one payment past due as of March 31, are down to the lowest level since the middle of 2007, indicating fewer new problems we will need to deal with in the future. The percentage of loans three payments or more past due, the loans that represent the backlog of problems that still need to be handled, is down to the lowest level since the end of 2008. Foreclosure starts are at their lowest level since the end of 2007.”
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