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Foreclosure starts and delinquences drop in April, LPS reports

Foreclosure starts and delinquencies dropped significantly from a year ago, according to Lender Processing Services' (LPS) Mortgage Monitor report. Servicers started 187,423 foreclosures in April, down 14.7% from a year ago and down 31% from March. Total delinquencies, at 7.97%, are down 16.3% from a year ago but up 2.4% from March, according to the report. HousingWire gave readers a "sneak peak" of the report earlier this month. Seriously delinquent mortgages, those that are 90 days overdue or in foreclosure stood at 7.86%, down nearly 11% from a year ago. Still, more mortgages are seriously delinquent when compared to prior years. In January 2009, just 10% of delinquent mortgages were in the 12 months or more delinquent bucket. But as of April 2011, some 40% of delinquent mortgages had been delinquent for 12 months or more, illustrating the stretched-out timelines for foreclosures. The foreclosure pipeline remains bloated, according to the report. Loans in the 90-plus days of delinquency or in foreclosure outnumber monthly foreclosure sales by a factor of almost 50:1. The foreclosure and seriously delinquent inventory stands at more than 4.2 million homes, yet just 84,219 foreclosure sales occurred during the month of April. The numbers suggest that lenders are still having trouble restarting the foreclosure process that came to a halt last fall amid robo-signing allegations. LPS also said new 30-day delinquencies in April were the largest seen in years. The National Association of Realtors reported Friday that pending home sales declined by 11.6% in April from March and were down a whopping 26.5% from a year ago. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.

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