The default rate on subprime mortgage loans jumped nearly 150 basis points in August to a record high of 16.1%, and the foreclosure rate jumped 82 bps to 6.8%, as declining house prices began to take their toll on credit performance, according to a Friedman Billings Ramsey Investment Management report.Michael Youngblood, FBRIM's managing director of fixed-income research, notes that falling house prices are becoming a factor in the latest surge in subprime defaults. The researcher points out that 49 metropolitan statistical areas in six states, representing 46% of all subprime loans, have experienced a 200% or more increase in defaults since August 2006. "Furthermore, we count 43 housing price bubbles in these 49 MSAs, whereas we count only 69 house price bubbles in all 363 MSAs," Mr. Youngblood says in the report. The report also indicates that the default rate on alternative-A loans jumped 62 bps to 3.96% in August, and the foreclosure rate rose 41 bps to 1.96%. (The default rate includes loans 90 days or more past due, in foreclosure, and real estate owned.)

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