LPS reports mortgage delinquencies are going nowhere
The latest mortgage monitor from Lender Processing Services (LPS) shows the level of homeowners 90 days or more behind on their house payments stayed essentially flat over the second half of 2011. In November, 7.72% of the nation's mortgages were overdue by more than three months, a rate mostly unchanged for the past six months. Still, mortgage delinquencies at the end of November were nearly 25% less than the January 2010 peak of 8.25%. "This degree of stagnation indicates that while the situation is not getting markedly worse, it is not improving either, and inventories of troubled loans remain significantly higher than pre-crisis levels across the board," LPS said in a statement. "As late-stage delinquencies in the pipeline still number close to 2 million, the sharp drop is more indicative of the impact of ongoing document reviews, additional state legislation and new regulatory requirements rather than a shift in trend." Despite the stagnation the government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dramatically decreased foreclosure starts in the last two months. In the bucket of mortgages more than 90 days past due, the GSE lower the rate of foreclosure starts from around 22% in September to 12% in November. LPS adds that refinancings remain strong, though mortgage originations are down 21% overall from a year ago. LPS tracks mortgage data on nearly 40 million loans. Write to Jacob Gaffney. Follow him on Twitter @jacobgaffney.