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U.S. foreclosures and delinquencies peak

U.S. foreclosures and delinquencies peak
A bank-owned home for sale is seen in Denver on March 6, 2009. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- The rate of U.S. foreclosures and the seasonally adjusted rate for homeowners at least one payment late hit records in the first quarter, a trade group said.

The delinquency rate, tracking homeowners at least one payment behind, but not yet involved in a foreclosure process, rose to 10.06 percent in the first quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

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On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the rate fell from 10.44 percent in the fourth quarter to 9.38 percent in the first.

The adjustment allows for a comparison that accounts for higher energy bills in the winter that tend to create a higher delinquency rate.

The MBA said the percentage of mortgage loans in foreclosure in the first quarter reached 4.63 percent, also a record high.

Serious delinquencies, tracking homeowners listed as 90 days or more behind on payments, fell from the fourth quarter to the first, to 9.54 percent.

"If mortgage delinquencies are not yet clearly improving, it also appears they are not getting worse. However, a bad situation that is not getting worse is still bad," said MBA Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann.

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