Just a month after early stage delinquency shot up, servicers reined in late payments. Loans in foreclosure continued their retreat.
Last month, 4,599,000 home loans were either 30 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure.
The number of delinquent mortgages retreated from June, when there were 4,785,000 residential loans with payments that were overdue.
Historical data from Lenders Processing Service, which released the statistics Monday, indicate that 5,562,000 loans were not current as of July 2012.
LPS reported that the 30-day delinquency rate, including the foreclosure pre-sale inventory, dropped to 9.23 percent in July from 9.61 percent in the previous report.
The improvement was even more impressive compared to a year earlier, when the rate was 11.11 percent.
Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Maine maintained their positions as the states with the highest delinquency rates.
The lowest levels of delinquency were in Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Last month's U.S. rate reflected a 6.41 percent 30-day rate, excluding foreclosures, down from 6.68 percent in June -- when the rate shot up 60 basis points from May.
Also reflected in the latest total was a 2.82 percent foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate, lower than 2.93 percent in June.