Delinquency Rate Down, Foreclosure Supply Up, Report Says

The mortgage delinquency rate fell last month in the U.S., along with the total number of delinquent mortgages, says a report by a leading lender processor.

The study by Lender Processing Services found that 6,082,000 mortgages in the U.S. were late by at least 30 days or were in a state of foreclosure, compared to 6,167,000 in December of 2011, about a 1.4 percent drop. The LPS report also shows a drop in the year-over-year January delinquency rate -- which excludes homes in foreclosure -- and a slight rise in the month-over-month foreclosure inventory. Both are signs of a recovering economy and subsiding government action against mortgage servicers, experts say.

The total U.S. loan delinquency rate -- which refers to loans of 30 days or more past due, but not loans in foreclosure -- was 7.97 percent, LPS says. That represents a 10.5 percent year-over-year drop from 2011, and a 2.2 percent month-over-month drop from December of 2011. The LPS report examines the just-under 40 million mortgages registered in its loan database.