The number of homes nationwide in the foreclosure process rose in September, according to the latest statistics collected from loan servicers by Lender Processing Services.

Foreclosure inventory stood at 3.84 percent of all loans in September, up 3.6 percent from September 2009 and 1.1 percent from August, according to LPS’ monthly Mortgage Monitor report. Nearly 275,500 homes that hadn’t been in the foreclosure process in August started foreclosure in September, down 0.6 percent year-over-year and 2.5 percent month-to-month.

Foreclosure timelines continued to rise, however. The average number of days delinquent for loans in foreclosure has risen to 484 days (roughly 16 months) in September from 372 days in September 2009 and 251 days in January 2008. Almost a third (32 percent) of seriously delinquent loans (with more than 90 days of missed payments) have been delinquent for more than a year.

In five judicial foreclosure states — New York, Florida, New Jersey, Hawaii and Maine — delinquent borrowers have missed payments for an average of more than 500 days.

States with most non-current loans include Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana, while states with the fewest non-current loans were North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming and Montana, LPS said.

Delinquencies nationwide fell 7.9 percent compared to September 2009 to a rate of 9.27 percent, but "remain at historically high levels," the report said.

The share of loans either seriously delinquent or in foreclosure stood at 4.4 million — a rate of 8.17 percent, down 2.9 percent year-over-year and 0.6 percent month-to-month. A total of 7 million loans were non-current (either delinquent or in foreclosure) in September — 13.11 percent of all loans. That’s a 2.52 percent drop in non-current loans compared to six months ago.

Nevertheless, about 1.13 million loans that were current at the beginning of this year are at least 60 days delinquent or in foreclosure as of the end of September — a month-over-month increase of approximately 120,000 loans, the report said.

"The last two months have seen an increasing trend in this new problem loan category — 1.84 percent of loans that were current six months ago are 60 or more days delinquent today," the report said.

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