Friday, January 30, 2009

Jumbo Mortgage Delinquencies are increasing

Rising defaults by affluent homeowners are raising the specter of another cloud over banks and investors, which could get stuck with thousands of expensive homes.

About 6.9% of prime "jumbo" loans were at least 90 days delinquent in December, according to LPS Applied Analytics, a mortgage-data research firm. The rate was up sharply from 2.6% a year earlier. In comparison, delinquencies of non-jumbo prime loans that qualify for backing by government agencies climbed to 2.1% from 0.8% in December 2007.

[Banks and Investors Face Jumbo Threat]

Jumbo mortgages average about $750,000 and can run as high as $5 million or more. More borrowers with such loans are being hit by layoffs that are spreading through practically every sector and pay level of the U.S. economy.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department reported that the jobless rate rose in December in all 50 states, hitting at least 10% in Michigan and Rhode Island. States that suffered the biggest jumps in unemployment in the past year include California and Florida, where the largest number of jumbo loans were made.

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