The delinquency rate on single-family mortgages fell 18 basis points from the third quarter to 4.23% at the end of the fourth quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.The fourth-quarter delinquency rate was also down 26 bps from one year earlier. The MBA's National Delinquency Survey found improvement for all loan types. Foreclosure rates also declined in the fourth quarter. MBA chief economist Doug Duncan said strong economic growth and low interest rates allowed homeowners to improve their household finances in the last quarter of 2004. Continuing job growth and only modest increases in interest rates suggest that "moderate declines in delinquencies" will continue for the next few quarters, he said. The MBA can be found online at http://www.mortgagebankers.org.

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