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Maryland homeowners doing better than rest of U.S.

April 26, 2008|By ARNOLD S. PLATOU

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Nationwide, many homeowners don't need to take these actions of desperation.

Hard-pressed by rising fuel prices and other economic stresses, they, nonetheless, are continuing to make their mortgage payments on time.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the percentage of loans in the U.S. with installments 30 days or more past due was 5.82 percent, on a seasonally adjusted basis, during October, November and December - the latest reporting period available.

If you want economic comfort, the flip side of that is that more than 94 percent are current.

Still though, the rate slowly is worsening. The 5.82 percent is up 0.23 percent from the July-to-September quarter, and up 0.87 percent from a year ago.

And the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process by the end of that third quarter - also the latest available - was 2.04 percent, the association said. That's an increase of 0.35 percent over the previous quarter, and 0.85 percent above the prior year.

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"Florida and California are the key drivers of the increase in national foreclosure rates," the association said. It said people in those two states have 21 percent of all of the mortgages in the nation, but 30 percent of its foreclosure starts.

Debtors seeming to have the worst trouble are in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. There, the percent of loans that have resulted in foreclosure are 3.88 percent in Ohio, 3.53 percent in Indiana and 3.38 percent in Michigan.

By comparison, Maryland homeowners are holding on well.

Just 1.22 percent of the 1,082,308 mortgage loans in the October-to-December period in the state have gone to foreclosure, the association said. That's about 13,204 properties.

Of them, 230 were filed here, according to the Washington County Clerk of Court's office in Hagerstown.

And in the past year - from April 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008 - a total of 716 were filed in the county, Deputy Clerk Norma Craver said.

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