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Mortgage delinquencies decline

By Holden Lewis ·
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Posted: 1 pm ET

Fewer people were late on their mortgage payments during the third quarter of this year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. At the same time, there was an increase in the number of loans entering foreclosure.

The decrease in mortgage delinquencies is a sign of an improving economy, says Michael Fratantoni, the association's vice president of research and economics. And the increase in new foreclosures is "part of a natural progression" for millions of loans that already had been past-due for months.

The foreclosure crisis is deepest in Florida, where 13.68 percent of homes with mortgages were in some stage of foreclosure at the end of September. Of every 22 Florida homes with a mortgage, three are in foreclosure.

Believe it or not, that's an improvement. Florida's foreclosure rate was 14.04 percent in the second quarter of this year.

A little more than 4 percent of foreclosures in California were in foreclosure. Fratantoni attributes that, in part, to the quicker foreclosure process in California, where the lender can seize and sell a house without a court's involvement. In Florida, foreclosures are handled through the courts, and it takes longer to repossess a house.

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