WASHINGTON May 15 The delinquency rate on home
mortgages in the United States fell in the first three months of
the year to its lowest level in six years, a report from the
Mortgage Bankers Association said on Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted delinquency rate on all home loans
fell to 6.11 percent in the first quarter from 6.39 percent in
the prior three months.
That left the rate at its lowest level since the fourth
quarter of 2007, which was when America entered a deep
The delinquency rate measures the number of homes that are
at least one payment past due, but does not include those that
have entered into foreclosure.
A steady improvement in the U.S. job market has helped more
Americans stay current on their mortgage payments over the last
year. The delinquency rate was 7.25 percent in the first quarter
"We are seeing sustained and significant improvement in
overall mortgage performance," MBA's chief economist Mike
Fratantoni said in a statement.
Increasing home prices, he said, brought on by tight
inventories of homes for sale, have helped build an equity
cushion for many new borrowers and have helped some homeowners
who were underwater regain positive equity in their properties.
Fewer homes entered the foreclosure process during the first
three months of the year, with seasonally adjusted foreclosure
starts down 0.45 percent from 0.54 percent the previous quarter.
Foreclosure starts have declined for five of the last six
Foreclosure inventory was also at its lowest level since the
first quarter of 2008, falling to 2.65 percent.
The share of homes considered seriously delinquent also
fell, dropping to 5.04 percent. Seriously delinquent homes are
at least 90 days late on their mortgage payments or are in the
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)