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The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on the phenomenon of rising delinquency rates, because in theory, delinquencies lead to foreclosures.

A new report by Equifax, the credit bureau, and Moody’s shows that 4.46% of mortgages were at least 30 days past due at the end of the first quarter, up from 3.98% in the fourth quarter and up 2.92% a year earlier. Delinquencies in the first quarter varied sharply by state, but were highest in Puerto Rico (8.03%), Florida (7.03%) and Nevada (6.59%.)

What is especially disturbing is the expansion of the homeowners being pulled into the foreclosure process.

There are signs that a broader swath of homeowners are getting caught in the housing market’s undertow. In Cleveland, suburban homeowners accounted for 53% of those calling United Way 211 First Call for Help with mortgage problems in the first quarter, up from 46% in the fourth quarter. In Maryland, borrowers in financial distress include government employees, Ph.Ds and others who never had credit problems, says Thomas Perez, Maryland’s Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

A graphical conversion of the often maligned month to month RealTrac foreclosure stats has been pulled off by They have been in my blogroll for a while as a rental search tool, but have now added foreclosures.

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