Overall delinquencies fell in hurricane-affected areas, but borrowers with seriously delinquent loans worsened.
Overall mortgage delinquencies were about 21% in Louisiana and nearly 17% in Mississippi as of the end of the fourth quarter, down from the previous quarter's levels of nearly 25% and more than 17%, respectively, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced in its latest National Delinquency Survey.
However, as expected, a majority of the loans that were only 30 days delinquent in September are now in the 90 days or more seriously delinquent category -- Louisiana and Mississippi borrowers in the default stage amounted to nearly 76,000 at the end of December, "most as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina," MBA reported.
"A sizable portion of these delinquencies are due to borrowers availing themselves of the forbearance programs many lenders have had in place since September," said Jay Brinkmann, MBA vice president of research and economics, in the written statement. "These programs postpone when mortgage payments are due but do not cancel the mortgage debt.
"It is also important to realize that a number of homeowners continue to meet their financial obligations despite not being able to occupy their homes or being temporarily relocated for other reasons."
Contrasting the seriously-delinquent loan percentages and due to the forbearance programs, the number of foreclosure starts in Louisiana sank to 0.16% of the state's mortgages from 0.45% in the third quarter, and in Mississippi to 0.26% from 0.53%. The national average for foreclosures started stands at 0.42%, MBA said.
The foreclosure inventory decreased about 12 basis points from the third quarter to 1.25% in Louisiana and fell 22 BPS to 1.30% in Mississippi, according to the report.