Foreclosure Starts Hit Highest Level Since January: LPS

The August Mortgage Monitor report released Friday by Lender Processing Services, Inc. shows that foreclosure starts are continuing to accelerate, with the GSEs displaying more aggressive timelines on early stage delinquencies.

Last month, the Florida-based company tracked 282,528 newly initiated foreclosures. That’s 1 percent above the number of new foreclosure cases the previous month, 20 percent higher than a year ago, and the highest level recorded by LPS since January of this year, when there were 287,865.

As of August month end, there had been more than 2 million foreclosure starts so far this year, according to LPS market data. While delinquencies during that same time period dropped 5.1 percent as compared to a year ago, the company says “in the context of ‘normal market conditions,’ delinquencies remain at historically high levels.”

Breaking the trend of the last three months, agency (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) foreclosure starts declined slightly in August; however, portfolio foreclosure starts have accelerated. Late stage delinquencies dominate the GSEs’ new foreclosure cases.

According to LPS’ report, in January 2009, the percent of seriously delinquent loans that were current six months prior peaked at 2.92 percent; in August 2010 that rate was 1.65 percent. The report also shows that approximately 1.01 million loans that were current at the beginning of January are at least 60 days delinquent or in foreclosure as of the end of August – a month-over-month increase of 115,000 loans.

LPS data also shows refinance activity is picking up again as prepayment rates have been steadily increasing over the last two months and new originations hit 2010 highs.

As reported in LPS’ First Look release earlier this month, the nation’s total mortgage delinquency rate, including loans past due and those already in foreclosure, is 13.02 percent.

The total U.S. loan delinquency rate stands at 9.22 percent. The nation’s foreclosure inventory rate is 3.8 percent.

The states with the highest percentage of non-current loans include: Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Georgia, and Illinois.

States with the lowest percentage of non-current home loans are: Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

By Carrie Bay, DSNews.com

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