Home delinquency rate rises in second quarter for 1st time in a year

NEW YORK Thu Aug 9, 2012 1:19pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The delinquency rate for home mortgages rose in the second quarter for the first time in a year as the slowdown in the broader economy hampered the nascent recovery in the housing market.

A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association released on Thursday showed the seasonally adjusted delinquency rate on all loans climbed to 7.58 percent from 7.40 percent in the first quarter, though it was still down from 8.44 percent a year ago.

It was the first time the delinquency rate has risen since the second quarter of last year.

Delinquency rates typically increase between the first and second quarters of the year, MBA said. Delinquencies include loans that are at least one payment behind but are not yet in the foreclosure process.

The increase was consistent with the weaker economy and stubbornly high unemployment rate, said MBA's chief economist, Jay Brinkmann.

"The expansion in the housing market we saw was reflective of some of the better jobs numbers that we had been seeing, and now that has slowed down, I think we're going to see a general slowdown in housing," said Brinkmann.

With home prices rising since early this year, economists are optimistic the housing market has finally turned a corner several years after its far-reaching collapse. Still, it faces a number of obstacles, including an overhang of foreclosures.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the delinquency rate rose to 7.35 percent from the first-quarter's 6.94 percent and was down from last year's 8.11 percent.

Mortgages that were 90 days or more past due - considered seriously delinquent - rose to 3.19 percent from 3.06 percent and were down from 3.61 the year before.

The percentage of loans that saw foreclosure actions started in the second quarter rose to 1.03 percent from 0.93 percent the previous quarter and 1.01 percent a year ago.

New foreclosure filings on Federal Housing Administration loans jumped to 1.72 percent from 0.92 percent as servicers started moving on the backlog of delinquent mortgages. MBA said the rise did not suggest a significant decline in FHA loan performance.

There were positive signs that the foreclosure inventory was easing. The number of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the second quarter fell to 4.27 percent from 4.39 percent in the first three months of the year and 4.43 percent a year ago.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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