March 05, 2009

Almost 12 percent of all U.S. homeowners were behind in their mortgage payments or in foreclosure at the end of 2008, according to figures released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Both are record highs since the MBA began tracking these measures in its National Delinquency Survey back in 1972.

The percentage of loans actually in the foreclosure process at the end of the fourth quarter was 3.30 percent, up one third from the previous quarter. Loans dubbed "delinquent" are at least one payment past due but does not include loans somewhere in the process of foreclosure.

"Foreclosure inventory jumped sharply in the fourth quarter even though the rate at which loans were entering foreclosure remained unchanged," said Jay Brinkmann, MBA's Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Research and Economics. "This is mainly attributable to variousmoratoria on foreclosure sales," he added in a statement.

"Subprime ARM loans and prime ARM loans, which include Alt-A and pay-option ARMs, continue to dominate the delinquency numbers," Brinkmann said.

"While California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan continue to dominate the delinquency numbers, some of the sharpest increases we saw last quarter in loans 90 days or more delinquent were in Louisiana, New York, Georgia, Texas and Mississippi, signs of the spreading impact of the recession," he said.

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