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Some Surprising States, Regions at Top of Delinquency Charts

NOV 11, 2013 4:58pm ET
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You’d think Florida and Nevada, the epicenters of the foreclosure crisis, would have a tidy lead in the roll of states for foreclosure rates in the most recent national delinquency survey. And you’d be half right.

Beleaguered Florida continues to lead the nation in foreclosure inventory, at 9.5% at the end of the third quarter of this year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But trailing Florida is not another sand state but rather the Garden State—New Jersey.

At 8.3%, the foreclosure inventory in New Jersey (along with stubbornly high unemployment) has got to be cause for pain not only for those being foreclosed on, but for Gov. Chris Christie as he weighs a presidential run after handily being returned to office for a second term on Nov. 5.

The entire Northeast, in fact, is not doing especially well when it comes to foreclosures and delinquencies. (And you can blame subprime mortgages.) The region’s total overdue percentage, 7.4%, puts it second-worst in the country, after the South, at 7.6%.

Worse than the Rust Belt, with its continuing horror story of Detroit? Yes (though not by much). How about the Pacific Rim, including California? Much worse than their 5%.

In fact, the Pacific region performed the best of any in the country. Alaska and Hawaii had less than 4% of their mortgages overdue at the end of the third quarter, according to the survey. California, the biggest mortgage state and a sand state to boot (at least in its southern part), came in quite well at just above 5%.

Mississippi had the most overdues for the period, at a hefty 11.5% (some overhang from Katrina, perhaps?). The best-performing state should not be a surprise. North Dakota, an oil boom state with a housing shortage keeping homebuilders working around the clock, had just 2.6% of mortgages overdue.

On the foreclosure side, North Dakota was one of three states where foreclosure inventory was less than 100 basis points at the end of the quarter. Its sister state of South Dakota joined it. The state with the least percentage of foreclosure inventory was Wyoming, at 66 basis points.

It’s probably safe to say the foreclosure crisis is over for these states, at least. And more will be joining them in subsequent quarters.

While it is true that no one makes subprime mortgages any more, there are still some 3.7 million of them being serviced. Some 20%, or more than half a million loans, are overdue, though the foreclosure inventory is now shrinking, to 11.2% nationally. (And note, that means 80% of subprime loans are performing!)

Well above the national rate are the states of the Northeast, with 18.5% of subprime mortgages in foreclosure. Who is doing the best? There are two states, Alaska and Nebraska, where subprime past dues are less than 3%. So we can probably say the subprime debacle is over, for at least these two states.

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