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Seattle Area Sees Mortgage Delinquency Grow    
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By: Kathleen Cooper; BuilderOnline.com

Aug. 17--Several Northwest metropolitan areas, including Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, have growing rates of mortgage delinquency that buck the national trend, a nonprofit group said Tuesday.

The National Housing Conference said in a news release Tuesday that 8.4 percent of all first mortgages in the Puget Sound region are 90 days delinquent or in foreclosure, up from 7.7 percent a year ago. Most major metro areas' rates of such "serious delinquency," as the conference calls it, are stabilizing or dropping, though homes are remaining in foreclosure for longer.

The Seattle area and Portland, are among only 12 of the 100 largest U.S. metros where so-called serious delinquency grew from March 2010 to March 2011. Seattle, Bremerton, and Eugene, Ore., also are in the top 25 metros by growth in serious delinquency, according to the news release.

A Washington state housing finance official told the organization that the region is likely just seeing aftershocks of the national foreclosure crisis. "We believe the combination of Washington's trade-dependent economy lagging the rest of the nation into the recession and lenders waiting to see what the new state foreclosure law would look like led to the increase in foreclosure filings in the Seattle metro area in late 2010 and early 2011", said Kim Herman, executive director of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. "We expect the trend to turn down late this year and be more in line with the national slowdown in foreclosures."

The National Housing Conference is a nonprofit housing advocacy organization. Its research arm, the Center for Housing Policy, releases data quarterly on housing trends with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Urban Institute. For its quarterly report, it analyzed the performance of prime and subprime loans from LPS Applied Analytics, formerly known as McDash Analytics, a vendor of loan performance data from the nation's largest loan servicers.

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