Continued high issuance in the home equity sector in April caused a drop in the weighted average seasoning of Moody's Home Equity Index Composite, which tracks the aggregate performance of home equity loans backing securities rated by Moody's.The WAS dropped to 15.98 months, more than two months lower than the level in April 2003, according to the rating agency. The rate of serious delinquencies and chargeoffs as measured by the index also declined as a result of the addition of new pools, since these unseasoned pools have low delinquencies and no losses, Moody's said. Delinquencies and chargeoffs both decreased relative to those of March and on a year-over-year basis. The 60-day-plus delinquency rate for April fell to 6.66%, a 17% decrease from that of April 2003. The most dramatic decrease came in the foreclosure category, which fell 24% from that of a year earlier, the rating agency reported. After increasing in February and March, the chargeoff rate decreased to 1.22% in April, a nearly 14% decline from the level of a year earlier.

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