While the nation's foreclosure inventory continues to shrink, new delinquencies spiked sharply during September 2012, new data released Monday afternoon showed.
According to Lender Processing Services (LPS), the total U.S. mortgage delinquency rate — loans 30-plus days past due, but not in foreclosure — surged upward by 7.72%, reaching 7.4% in September versus the 6.87% reported one month earlier.
Despite the spike, September 2012 delinquency totals still remain below levels seen last year, LPS said.
While new delinquencies spiked in September, the volume of properties in foreclosure continues to shrink as banks and other financial instutions continue to work through a backlog of distressed real estate that remains well above historical levels of half of a percent or so, according to most industry experts.
LPS said that the nation's foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate fell to 3.87% during September, down 4.05% from one month earlier and down 7.37% less than one year ago.
Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, and Louisiana represented the states with the highest percentage of noncurrent loans, according to the data report; Lousiana replaced New York, which had been in the top five for most of this year.
Despite the drop in foreclosure inventory, the surge in new delinquencies has led to something not seen this year until now: an increase in the amount of distressed properties, defined as properties 30 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure.
According to LPS, there were 5.45 million properties in distress during August 2012; for September, thanks to increasing delinquencies, that number now equals 5.64 million.