More than 52,000 residential loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration are now delinquent due to storm damage caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FHA officials said Monday.The affected loans are collateralized by homes in the five-state Gulf region. The FHA released the delinquency figures when it unveiled its new Mortgage Relief Assistance program designed to help some 20,000 mortgagors in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Under the MRA program, the FHA will pay principal, interest, real estate taxes, and property insurance for up to 12 months on certain hurricane-affected properties in the five-state region. Only FHA homes that are inhabitable or can be rebuilt are eligible for the assistance program. FHA mortgagors whose homes or jobs have been affected by the hurricanes are eligible for MRA relief.

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