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Foreclosures Surge as Stabilization Drifts Further Away

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The housing market may not stabilize until Q111, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today, upon release of its National Delinquency Survey, which shows foreclosure activity hit an all-time high in Q109. The MBA is now in its 40th year of releasing the survey. Earlier predictions pointed towards a housing market recovery happening sooner, but the MBA says this is unlikely until at least the end of 2010. The survey shows the delinquency rate -- which excludes those homes in the foreclosure process -- on one- to four-unit residential properties hit 9.12% in Q109. In Q408, the delinquency rate sat at a much lesser 7.88%. Twelve percent of all mortgages are now at least one payment delinquent, the MBA said in a conference call. The ongoing severity of the housing slump is demonstrated in the "seriously delinquent" rate -- the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more delinquent -- which sat at 7.24%, according to the MBA. That's 94 basis points higher than Q408 and an astounding 321 points higher than last year at the same time. Total foreclosure inventory was also up, with 3.85% of all mortgages somewhere in the foreclosure process at the end of Q109, compared with 3.3% in Q408. Not only has foreclosure activity surged, it's become more widespread, as prime, fixed-rate mortgages now constitute 56% of mortgages in the foreclosure process. The transient nature of the market, where people are relocating to new towns for new jobs and turning over home keys time and time again, must settle, before the housing market can begin a solid recovery, the MBA explained. Which means, the job market must take a turn in the right direction, before housing can do the same, which the MBA predicts will come in the first half of 2010. Write to Kelly Curran.

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