JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Serious delinquency rates for mortgages continue to stabilize across the largest 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, though they remain at historically high levels.
In Florida, the foreclosure crisis remains severe. All of the top eight U.S. metro areas by foreclosure rate are in Florida, as are 17 of the top 25. Jacksonville ranks 18th in the country.
Serious delinquency, defined as the share of loans in foreclosure plus the share of loans delinquent 90 or more days, fell 10 percent from the peak in December 2009 through March 2011.
The 90-plus-day delinquency component of the figure fell from 5.5 percent of the mortgage market to 3.9 percent over the same period. Nationally, the share of homes in foreclosure continues to rise, increasing 12 percent in that 15-month period.
"The nation's foreclosure problems are far from over," commented Urban Institute Research Associate Leah Hendey, a researcher on the project.
"The data clearly demonstrate that communities across the country need strong policies to set families and neighborhoods on the course to recovery."
While data found a correlation between unemployment and serious mortgage delinquency rates nationally, many Florida metro areas are experiencing serious delinquency at rates much higher even than the state's above-average unemployment figures would suggest.
While the rates of serious delinquency are not generally rising in the state, foreclosure rates in Florida climbed so high at the peak of the housing crisis that recovery is likely to take longer than in the rest of the country.
Serious delinquency rates in cities like Miami, Fort Myers and Orlando, some of the nation's worst hit by foreclosures, are now some of the most rapidly declining. However, serious delinquency rates in those and other Florida cities remains well above 20 percent of the total mortgage market.
Because the volume of foreclosure starts has not grown significantly, growth in the foreclosure inventory indicates that properties are not exiting the foreclosure process.
"In some states, foreclosure processes are excessively slow, while in others they are too rapid," said Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center. "Waiting too long to finalize a foreclosure prolongs recovery for borrowers and neighborhoods, but pursuing foreclosures too quickly shuts down real opportunities to save homes. Both trends contribute to the destabilization of communities."
MORE: See a map of foreclosure areas
First Coast News