According to the market research firm Lender Processing Services, the mortgage delinquency rate for January 2012 fell 10% for the month – a good sign for the economy and for the housing sector.
LPS says the national delinquency rate declined to 7.97%, which is a 10.5% annual slide and a 2.2% decline from December 2012.
But the news on the foreclosure front isn’t as optimistic. LPS reports that there are approximately 2 million U.S. homes in pre-foreclosure, and the number of U.S. homes either 30 days delinquent or in foreclosure topped 6 million.
Regionally, the states where homeowners are having the toughest time keeping up with their mortgage loans include Florida, Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois. The states where homeowners are faring the best include Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The rest of the week should fill in the blanks on where the housing market really stands. Later today, the existing home sales index is due out, and economists expect that number to grow slightly (by approximately 1.9%). On Thursday, the weekly jobless claims come out, a number that has been trending favorably in recent weeks. Also on Thursday, monthly home prices hit the wires, and on Friday new homes sales number comes out – analysts expect that index to rise by around 2.6%.
One ongoing theme that has stopped a real housing recovery in its tracks is the imbalance between housing inventory and housing demand.