Growing risk has led to a sharp increase in collateral scrutiny by mortgage lending institutions during the last 12 months, a consumer Web site reported today.

Risk scores nationwide increased by 14.3 percent during the October-to-April period compared to the prior six-month period. Louisiana showed a 55.9 percent risk increase, followed by Hawaii with 51.7 percent and New Hampshire with 42.3 percent, according to HomeSmartReports.com, which provides online access to sales trends and property value estimates.

Lending institutions review home loan applications for applicant financial risk and property risk. The elements on the collateral side include property and neighborhood characteristics, as well as local market trends, flipping and default activity.

“Much of the normal market risk has been absent, or at least obscured, the last three years because of the strength of the real estate market. Now that sales are slowing and appreciation rates are coming down, risk is re-emerging, said Mike Ela, HomeSmartReports.com president.

While collateral risk increased in 37 states, it declined in Alaska, Wyoming and nine other states. Risk was flat in Montana and Massachusetts.

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