Mortgage delinquency falls

The number of homeowners who were 60 days or more past due on their mortgages went down in the first quarter of 2011 to 6.19 percent from 6.77 percent at the same time last year, according to reports by TransUnion. This decrease marks the fifth straight quarter of falling rates.

While delinquency is down in many states across the nation, rates need to fall faster to reach the 2 percent pre-recession average. Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, says that while the numbers tell a positive story, the housing market must clear out more distressed properties in order to gain additional traction. Because the foreclosure process can be lengthy, the rate’s movement has been sluggish.

About half of all foreclosures in the U.S. are concentrated in five states — Florida, California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. In four out of five states, court approval is required for foreclosures. When problems with paperwork surfaced in the fall of 2010, foreclosed homes got stuck in the bottleneck of legal review, and the process lengthened. With delinquency rates moving at their current pace, slow and steady may win this race.