U.S. Homeowners in Foreclosure Process Were 507 Days Late Paying, by John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg.com


U.S. homeowners in the foreclosure process were an average of 507 days late on payments at the end of last year as lenders handled a record rate of mortgage delinquencies, Lender Processing Services Inc. said today.

The average grew 25 percent from 406 days at the end of 2009, according to the Jacksonville, Florida-based mortgage processing and default management company.

“The sheer volume of loans going through the system is going to extend those timelines,” said Herb Blecher, senior vice president for analytics at Lender Processing. Foreclosure processing also was slowed by “an abundance of caution” in the last three months of 2010 after lenders were accused of using faulty documentation and procedures to seize homes, he said.

A national jobless rate of 9 percent is increasing loan defaults and weighing down prices as foreclosed properties sell at a discount. Homeowners with 6.87 million loans — 13 percent of all mortgages — were at least 30 days behind on their payments as of Dec. 31, Lender Processing said.

Florida led the nation with a 23 percent delinquency rate, followed by Nevada at 21 percent, Mississippi at 19 percent, and Georgia and New Jersey at 15 percent, the loan processor said.

California homeowners who didn’t make their mortgage payments had the longest average wait before receiving a notice of default at 379 days, followed by Florida at 349 days, Maryland at 345 days, New York at 344 days, and Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., at 341 days.

Delinquent homeowners held onto their properties for the longest in Vermont, where it took an average 754 days to lose their homes, followed by 697 days in New York, 695 days in Maine, 688 days in Florida and 682 days in New Jersey.

The number of U.S. homes receiving a foreclosure filings may climb 20 percent this year, reaching a peak of the housing crisis, as banks step up the pace of seizures, RealtyTrac Inc. said Jan. 13. A record 2.87 million properties received notices of default, auction or repossession last year, according to the Irvine, California-based data provider.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in New York at johngitt@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net.

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