“For most of the country, delinquencies and foreclosures have returned to more normal historical levels. Most states are at or only slightly above longer-term averages and some of the worst-hit states are showing improvement,” said Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Chief Economist and SVP of Research and Economics Jay Brinkmann. “For example, while 10 percent of the mortgages in Florida are somewhere in the process of foreclosure, this is down considerably from the high of 14.5 percent two years ago.” The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 5.88 percent, a decrease of 51 basis points from last quarter, and a decrease of 143 basis points from the second quarter of last year. However, as with last quarter’s results, the improvement in the seriously delinquent percentages may be slightly less than stated because at least one large specialty servicer that has received a number of loan transfers does not participate in the MBA survey. The combined percentage of loans at least one payment past due or in foreclosure was at its lowest level in five years, decreasing to 10.13 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, 17 basis points lower than last quarter and 149 basis points lower than the same quarter one year ago. During the MBA’s latest conference call, emphasis was put on the northeast, with New York, New Jersey and others showing spikes in foreclosure rates and starts. While there weren’t any specific reasons given for the sudden increase in foreclosure rates and starts, Brinkmann alluded to the possible connection to Hurricane Sandy, as it hasn’t even been a year since the hurricane made landfall in the northeast, dealing severe damage to coastal regions and scaring people away from homes along the coast. “While overall economic growth and jobs creation have been less than robust, the improvements have not been consistent across the country or all sectors," Brinkmann said. "The result is that those states with the weakest economic growth and the most sclerotic foreclosure systems have seen the slowest improvements in delinquency and foreclosure rates."