The number of seriously delinquent mortgages in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas slowed this year, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. But foreclosures remain a burden on the housing market, prompting the policy research group to call for a resolution to the housing crisis to ensure the foreclosure backlog is cleared out in a reasonable time period.
The institute said the serious delinquency rate in the 100 largest metro areas slowed to 9.3% in June from 10.4% in December 2009, according to data from Foreclosure-Response.org. The Urban Institute said the serious delinquency rate is classified as the share of loans in foreclosure, plus all of those that are more than 90 days in arrears.
“The foreclosure inventory that is building up is going to take an incredibly long time for lenders to clear,” said Leah Hendey, research associate at the Washington firm. “At the current pace of foreclosure sales, we are looking at a process that could take decades to complete. It is critical that the status of these properties be resolved quickly if we want to stabilize communities and housing markets.”
This decline was driven by a drop in delinquent loans, which fell to 3.7% in June from 5.5% in December 2009.
In hard-hit areas like Riverside and Stockton, Calif., the foreclosure rate declined significantly, dropping 1.9 percentage points and 1.7 percentage points from the peak two years ago.
Florida, New York and Illinois experienced a different shift in the market with foreclosure rates climbing in cities throughout those states.
In Tampa, the foreclosure rate jumped 2.8 percentage points, and in Chicago, it grew 2.3 percentage points. Those three states are judicial foreclosure states, which force a court to make a final decision before a property can leave the process. This leads to a growing backlog, the Urban Institute said.
Mortgage originations are down in all of the 100 metro areas surveyed, as well. Some of the largest drops occurred in Buffalo, N.Y., where originations fell 39% this year, and Miami, where new home loans fell 82%, the report said.
Write to Kerri Panchuk.