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US real estate foreclosures fall marginally but mortgage delinquencies increase to bring more gloom

As financial experts warn that falling property prices in the US could affect economic output and create a double dip recession there is more mixed news for the country’s real estate sector.

Although figures shows that the number of foreclosures decreased nationally in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the first three months, mortgage delinquencies increased, suggesting that foreclosures could rise again by the next quarter.

The delinquency rate for a prime adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) increased 47 basis points to 9.3% while the rate for a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) increased 8bps to 4.75%, according to the latest figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Foreclosures for both types of mortgage loans remained relatively flat quarter on quarter, ARMs dropping only 4 basis points to 3.92% and FRMs increasing 1 basis point to 1.11%.

But for subprime mortgages, ARM delinquency rates jumped 114bps points to 30.9% and foreclosures fell 113bps to 10.6%. Subprime FRMs followed a similar, less drastic, trend, with delinquencies climbing 56bps to 22.5% and foreclosures falling 24bps to 4.8%.

Mississippi had the highest delinquency rate at 13.7% and Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate at 2.9%.

And the latest figures from the Lender Processing Services index shows that almost 900,000 loans that were current at the beginning of the year were at least 60 days delinquent or in foreclosure as of July.

Although delinquency volume fell 2.3% month on month in July to 9.3%, it remains near historically elevated levels and record high numbers of delinquent loans are still entering the system, according to LPS. The volume of delinquencies increased 1.4% year on year, the report also shows.

The length of time these loans are staying in the foreclosure process is increasing as well. The average number of days a loan spends delinquent before it is finally forecloses reached 469 days in July, about a year and three months. In July of last year, the average was 351, more than three months shorter.

The total amount of loans in the foreclosure inventory passed 2 million in July, a 3.5% increase from a year ago, and 2.1% more than the previous month. The amount of foreclosures making it to REO status is picking up after diving earlier in the year. LPS reported nearly 100,000 REO properties in July.

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