The number of troubled mortgages has declined to a level last seen since the early months of the recession. The delinquency rate fell to 6.39 percent of loans in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 7.09 percent a year earlier and the lowest rate since the first quarter of 2008, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The backlog of foreclosure inventory declined to its lowest level since 2008 as well; and the number of loans on which lenders initiated foreclosure was the lowest since 2006, when the housing bubble was starting to burst. Also, three-quarters of the nation's problem loans were made in 2007 or earlier; and delinquency rates for loans made after that point are near historical norms. "The legacy of very high foreclosure rates is a problem of older loans," said MBA chief economist Michael Fratantoni.
Florida had the highest share of loans in foreclosure, 8.56 percent, but the figure was down more than half of its peak rate.