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New delinquencies could derail foreclosure progress

Volume of homes in foreclosure drops, but more may be on the way

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A survey of lenders shows the number of homes in the foreclosure process during the second quarter declined for the first time since 2006, but that foreclosure inventory could be driven back up by a surge in borrowers falling one payment behind on their mortgages.The results of the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest National Delinquency Survey -- which covers 85 percent of first-lien mortgages, or about 44.5 million loans -- revealed that even as the foreclosure picture showed signs of improvement, more trouble could lie ahead.After peaking at 3.77 percent in the first quarter of 2009, the percentage of loans one payment behind had fallen to 3.31 percent by the end of last year. The latest survey showed the 30-day delinquency rate climbing again, to 3.51 percent.Extrapolating the 30-day delinquency rate to loans not included in the survey suggests that as many as 1.8 million homeowners were one payment behind on their mortgages -- a first step on the path to foreclosure.MBA Chief Ec...