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Mortgage Delinquencies Fell and Foreclosure Inventory Rose in Fourth Quarter

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2002) -- In the fourth quarter of 2001, the share of homeowners paying their mortgages late decreased, while the percentage of mortgages in the foreclosure process increased, according to a quarterly survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA).

In MBA's latest National Delinquency Survey (NDS), the delinquency rate for loans on one- to four-unit residential properties was 4.65 percent in the fourth quarter of 2001, down 22 basis points from the third quarter of 2001. The percentage of loans in the process of foreclosure at the end of the quarter rose 9 basis points to 1.04 percent, while the percentage of loans in which foreclosure started during the quarter dropped 2 basis points to 0.36 percent.

Douglas G. Duncan, MBA's Chief Economist, says that the primary reason for the decrease in overall delinquency rates in the fourth quarter is that shorter-term delinquencies (loans 30 days past due) dropped back to second quarter levels. The events of September 11 may have contributed to this temporary rise in short-term delinquencies, which were ultimately brought current in the fourth quarter.

"On a year-over-year basis, mortgage delinquencies are still up 15 basis points over the fourth quarter of 2000," says Duncan. "Furthermore, the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process are up 19 basis points over the fourth quarter of 2000, and 9 basis points over the last quarter. Nonetheless, the fourth quarter drop in the overall delinquency rate over the third quarter, coupled with recent economic indicators, lead us to be cautiously optimistic that delinquencies may be stabilizing."

The delinquency rate decreased for each of the three loan types during the fourth quarter of 2001. The rate for conventional loans was 3.00 percent, down 13 basis points from the previous quarter, and the rates for FHA and VA loans were 10.97 percent and 7.70 percent-down 39 and 41 basis points-respectively.

The inventory of loans in the process of foreclosure at the end of the quarter increased for each of the loan types. The percentage of conventional loans in foreclosure increased 6 basis points to 0.76 percent. The percentage of FHA loans in foreclosure increased 23 basis points to 2.17 percent. The percentage of VA loans in foreclosure increased 8 basis points to 1.33 percent.

On a smaller sample of loans, the NDS found that the delinquency rate for both fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) decreased in the fourth quarter. The rate dropped 10 basis points to 3.87 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and dropped 35 basis points to 5.91 percent for ARMs.

The NDS, which has been conducted since 1953, currently covers more than 32 million loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties, representing about half of all "first-lien" residential mortgage loans outstanding in the United States. Loans surveyed were reported by approximately 130 lenders, including mortgage bankers, commercial banks, thrifts, and life insurance companies. Data are adjusted using the Census Bureau's X-12-ARIMA seasonal adjustment program; historical data may have been revised accordingly.

MBA is the national association representing the real estate finance industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation's residential and commercial real estate markets, to expand homeownership prospects through increased affordability, and to extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters excellence and technical know-how among real estate finance professionals through a wide range of educational programs and technical publications. Its membership of approximately 2,800 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, life insurance companies, and others in the mortgage lending field. For additional information, visit MBA's Web site: www.mbaa.org.MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Laura Armstrong

Tisha Richardson

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