Mortgage delinquencies on the decline

March 17, 2005 at 1:07 PM

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- The delinquency rate for mortgage loans in the fourth quarter of 2004 fell 26 basis points from a year ago to 4.23 percent, an industry group said Thursday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said the delinquency rate for mortgage loans for the October to December period was down 18 basis points from the previous three months.

Meanwhile, the percentage of loans in foreclosure was at 1.12 percent in the fourth quarter, down 17 basis points from a year ago and a 2 basis points decline from the earlier quarter, the association said.

"Combined with the low interest rate environment, consumers improved their household finances and the percentage of homeowners making their mortgage payments on time increased to nearly 96 percent," said the MBA's chief economist Doug Duncan. He added a further decline in delinquencies is expected as the economy improves.

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