The delinquency rate on U.S. mortgages monitored by Lender Processing Services (LPS) fell in January but foreclosure starts rose.

The delinquency rate fell to 7.97% in January 2012, representing a 10.5% annual decline. The rate dropped 2.2% from December, according to LPS’ its first look at January mortgage performance statistics based on its loan-level data of nearly 40 million loans.

The total U.S. foreclosure presale inventory rate hit 4.15%, up 1.1% from December and down slightly from a year earlier. About 2.08 million homes were in pre-sale foreclosure inventory as of January.

Just under 4 million properties have mortgages more than 30 days past due, while 1.77 million have loans that are at least 90 days delinquent but not in foreclosure.

The number of properties with loans that are more than 30 days delinquent or in foreclosure totals more than 6.08 million.

The states with the highest percentage of noncurrent loans include Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois. States with the lowest amount of noncurrent loans include Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska and Nevada.

LPS will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report on March 6.

jhilley@housingwire.com

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