First American CoreLogic Inc. says it expects its quarterly Core Mortgage Risk Index will continue to rise during the next 18 months, as declining or flat home prices put more delinquent borrowers into foreclosure. The index attempts to gauge the likelihood of mortgage delinquencies in the next six to 12 months by tracking home prices and economic factors in 381 markets where more than nine out of 10 Americans live. Home prices are falling or not keeping pace with inflation in 247 of 381 metropolitan areas, according to First American CoreLogic's fourth-quarter Risk Monitor report. Home prices are falling in 88 markets, and appreciating at less than 3 percent in 159 others, the report said. With inflation averaging around 3 percent, homeowners whose properties appreciate at a slower rate experience a decline in value in real terms. Before the housing boom, when many markets enjoyed double-digit appreciation, houses tended to appreciate at about the same rate as inflation, said First A...
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