Mortgage Delinquencies Continue to Decline

The number of mortgages in delinquency continues to fall and has shrunk by nearly one-fifth over the past year, according to new figures released today by Lender Processing Services (LPS).

The rate of delinquent mortgages has declined by 18.2 percent over the past year, according to the mortgage and data tracking firm, including a monthly decline of 1.2 percent in February. The figures include mortgages at least 30 days past due but not yet in foreclosure.

Overall, 8.80 percent of all outstanding mortgages are delinquent, according to the firm, for a total of nearly 4.7 million mortgages. Another 2.2 million are currently in foreclosure, or 4.15 percent of all mortgages.

Even as delinquencies have fallen, the number of mortgages in foreclosure has increased over the past year, up 7.4 percent from February 2010. The total did fall off slightly last month, however, decreasing 0.2 percent from January.

All told, nearly 13 percent of all U.S. mortgages are in jeopardy, or nearly 6.9 million home loans either delinquent or in foreclosure.

The states with the highest combined rates of foreclosure and delinquencies in February were Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, New Jersey and Georgia, according to LPA. The lowest rates were reported in Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

The figure are derived from the a database of nearly 40 million mortgages.