Loans: Delinquencies edge up on mortgages

Loans in process of foreclosure are on the wane, a good sign. But home loans where owners have missed a payment are on the rise.

Damian Dovarganes/AP/File
A financing available by Fannie Mae sign is posted on a foreclosed property offered for sale a few months ago. Although the number of home loans in foreclosure continues to decline, the number of homeowners who have missed a mortgage payment is on the rise.

It's an ominous sign for housing. The percentage of homeowners who have missed at least one mortgage payment has risen for the second straight quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association says.

Officials at the trade group expressed concern Monday that the sluggish economy may be creating another group of distressed borrowers.

"It is clear that the downward trend we saw through most of 2010 has stopped," the Mortgage Bankers Association's chief economist, Jay Brinkmann, said in a news release.

The second-quarter delinquency rate for loans on one- to four-unit residential properties increased to 8.44 percent of all U.S. mortgages as of June 30, up from 8.32 percent on March 31 and 8.25 percent on Dec 31.

But not all the news was bad, the trade group said Monday in its quarterly release on soured loans. Long-termdelinquencies — those with three or more missed payments — were still declining.

And the percentage of homes on which foreclosure proceedings began during the quarter was 0.96 percent, which is down slightly from the levels seen during the first quarter of this year and the final quarter of 2010.

Still, "mortgage delinquencies are no longer improving, and are now showing some signs of worsening."

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