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90-Day Delinquency Deteriorates, Foreclosures Fall

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The proportion of home loans that were seriously past due took a turn for the worse on a month-over-month basis. But mortgage servicers completed fewer foreclosures.

U.S. delinquency of at least 90 days was 7.3 percent in February. The 90-day rate includes loans in the process of foreclosure as well as completed foreclosures.

The rate of serious delinquency worsened from January, when 7.2 percent of loans were at least three months past due. But delinquency was down from 7.8 percent during the same month in 2011.

CoreLogic, which delivered the data, said that the 90-day rate in Florida was 17.4 percent, the highest of any state. There was no change from January in the Sunshine State. Helping keep Florida at the top was the Orlando core-based statistical area, which had the highest 90-day rate of any major area: 18.1 percent. The No. 2 area, Tampa, had a 17.2 percent rate.

Next was Nevada’s 13.0 percent, followed by 10.9 percent in New Jersey, 9.2 percent in Illinois — where the Chicago area’s 10.7 percent ranked No. 3 among all cities — and 8.2 percent in Maryland.

North Dakota had a rate of just 1.7 percent, the country’s lowest delinquency.

The shorter month helped the number of completed U.S. foreclosures fall to 65,000 last month from an upwardly revised 71,000 during January. Real-estate-owned filings slipped from February 2011, when 66,000 foreclosures were completed.

Year-to-date Feb. 29, repossessions totaled 136,000. CoreLogic noted that 3.4 million foreclosures have been completed since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008.

There were around 1.4 million REOs as of the latest month. That brought the foreclosure inventory to 3.4 percent. The rate was unchanged from the upwardly revised figure reported for a month earlier but better than 3.6 percent a year earlier.

“Even though the pace of completed foreclosures has slowed, the overall foreclosure inventory is decreasing because REO sales were up in February,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming explained in the report. “With the spring buying season upon us, the inventory may decline further as the pace of distressed-asset sales rises along with the rest of the housing market.”

Florida had a foreclosure inventory rate of 12.0 percent, higher than 11.8 percent in January and the worst of any state. At 12.3 percent each, Orlando and Tampa were the worst statistical areas in the nation.

New Jersey followed with a 6.6 percent rate, then Illinois’ 5.4 percent, Nevada’s 5.0 percent and New York’s 4.9 percent — which included the third-worst statistical area of Nassau-Suffolk, where the rate was 6.6 percent.

Wyoming’s 0.7 percent foreclosure inventory rate was the best in the nation.

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