WASHINGTON – Rhode Island ended the fourth quarter of 2011 with the 10th-highest mortgage delinquency rate in the nation with 9.38 percent of all loans past due, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. The Ocean State also had the fifth highest rate in the nation of seriously delinquent loans, those more than 90 days past due, at 4.34 percent.
While Rhode Island also had the highest rate of new foreclosure starts in New England, at 1.13 percent, the state’s total foreclosure inventory ended the quarter at 3.60 percent, behind the regional average of 3.80 percent.
Nationally, fewer homeowners fell behind on their loans in the fourth quarter of 2011 as the seasonally-adjusted mortgage delinquency rate fell .41 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2010 to 7.58 percent.
The national rate of new foreclosure starts dropped 0.28 percentage points year over year to .99 percent.
“Mortgage performance continued to improve in the fourth quarter, reflecting the improvement we saw in the job market and broader economy,” said Jay Brinkmann, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist and senior vice president for research and education. “The total delinquency rate and foreclosure starts rate decreased and are back down to levels from three years ago. A major reason is that the loans that are seriously delinquent are predominantly made up of loans originated prior to 2008 and this pool is steadily growing smaller as a percent of total loans outstanding.”
“By several measures, mortgage delinquencies are about half way back to long-term, pre-recession levels,” he added.