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Mortgage delinquencies are stabilizing

Mortgage delinquencies are stabilizing

Mortgage delinquencies are showing improvement throughout the U.S. Home finance balances written off in the first quarter of 2013 decreased by 23 percent year-over-year, totaling $69.7 billion year-to-date through May 2013 based on Equifax Inc.’s March National Consumer Credit Trends report, reports National Mortgage Professional Magazine. This marks a five-year low. Write-offs include loans of properties that went through foreclosure, entered bankruptcy, or were charged off by the lender.

Amy Crews Cutts, chief economist at Equifax, said in a statement, “The decline is due to write-offs from foreclosures as well as from consumers paying down balances when refinancing, known as cash-in refinancing, shortening terms when they refinance their loans or making extra principle payments each month for faster amortization; some have even paid-off their mortgages entirely.”

Although the national delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit properties climbed slightly to 7.25 percent of all loans at the end of the first quarter of 2013, according to The Mortgage Bankers Association, foreclosure inventory dipped in 40 states. (The delinquency rate includes homes that are one or more payments behind but does not account for loans in foreclosure.) Florida, California, and Nevada posted the biggest decreases. Serious delinquency, those loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 6.39 percent, down from last quarter.

Home prices have gained 10.5 percent in March of this year compared to 2012, marking the 13th consecutive month of increases on an annual basis nationwide, reports USA Today. Approximately 1.7 million homeowners moved into positive equity last year. Rising property prices should continue to help more of the remaining 10.4 million underwater borrowers, who account for 22 percent of all mortgage-holders, further stabilizing the overall housing market.