Foreclosure Starts Begin to Rise Again – Up 20% in August…but Overall Conditions Showing Signs of Improvement

Data released by Lender Processing Services (LPS) Monday shows that foreclosure starts were up in August by 19.7% when compared to the previous month. However, LPS noted in its report that the 247,957 foreclosures initiated in August represents a 12.2%  decline from a year earlier. At the same time, of the approximately 4 million loans that are either 90 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure, the number in the 90-plus day delinquency bucket – 2,148,179 – has contracted to levels not seen since 2008, according to LPS’ study.
That’s not the only indicator of improvement LPS documented for problem loans. The company’s latest report also showed that, of loans that were current six months prior, 1.4% had become seriously delinquent by August. LPS says that percentage is less than half the rate seen in 2009, when the loan deterioration rate peaked at 2.9%.
At the same time, “first-time” delinquencies – new problem loans that had never been delinquent before – accounted for approximately a quarter of all new delinquencies, another sign of an improving trend for problem loans, according to LPS. The company points out, however, that 23% of the nearly 46 million loans that were current as of the end of August were still at risk as a result of negative equity – a leading indicator of a borrower’s propensity to default.
LPS’ analysis of mortgage performance data at August month-end showed an all-time high in the number of loans shifting from foreclosure back into delinquent status, suggesting that process reviews and potential loss mitigation activity are continuing. As a result, the company says foreclosure timelines continue to increase, with the average loan in foreclosure having been delinquent for a record 611 days. Average delinquencies in non-judicial states continue to be about six months shorter at the time of foreclosure sale when compared to their judicial counterparts, where LPS says backlogs continue to be extremely high.

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