The overall home mortgage delinquency rate jumped to 5.82% in the fourth quarter, the highest level since 1985, according to the national delinquency survey of the Mortgage Bankers Association. When the foreclosure inventory is added to the delinquency rate, nearly 8% of all homeowners with a mortgage were not making payments in the fourth quarter. Foreclosures reached the highest level in the history of the MBA survey, with the inventory of loans in the foreclosure process rising to 2.04% and 0.83% of loans entering the foreclosure process during the fourth quarter. In a conference call with reporters, MBA chief economist Doug Duncan noted that adjustable-rate mortgages to subprime borrowers accounted for 42% of the loans entering foreclosure during the fourth quarter, though subprime ARMs only account for 7% of loans outstanding. "Roughly a third of subprime adjustable-rate loans are late on their payments," Mr. Duncan said. The MBA can be found online at http://www.mortgagebankers.org.

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