The number of new foreclosure notices fell 5.5 percent but a slightly larger proportion of mortgages became delinquent in the third quarter of 2010, according to a New York Federal Reserve Bank survey released Monday.
About 2.7 percent of current mortgage balances fell into delinquency between June and September, compared to 2.6 percent in the second quarter, marking the first rise in this figure since last year.
This is "a development which will bear monitoring in coming quarters," the New York Fed said.
About 457,000 individuals had a foreclosure notation added to their credit reports between July 1 and Sept. 30, the Fed said. This is a 6.4 percent drop from a year earlier.
Mortgage originations rose 4.3 percent to $380 billion but remain about 50 percent below their average levels of 2003-2007.
Consumer indebtedness fell 0.9 percent to $11.6 trillion in the third quarter, continuing its trend over the second quarter but at a slower pace.
Excluding the effects of defaults and charge-offs, the New York Fed said, nonmortgage debt fell for the first time since at least 2000.
"Consumer debt is declining but only part of the reduction is attributable to defaults and charge-offs," said Donghoon Lee, senior economist in the Research and Statistics Group at the New York Fed.
"Americans are borrowing less and paying off more debt than in the recent past. This change, which we continue to study carefully, can be a result of both tightening credit standards and voluntary changes in saving behavior."
The New York Fed said the payoff of debt by consumers reduced their cash flow by about $150 billion through the end of 2009. Since its peak in the third quarter of last year, outstanding consumer debt has dropped by nearly $1 trillion.
Total household delinquency rates fell for the second quarter in a row.
As of Sept. 30, 11.1 percent of outstanding debt was in some stage of delinquency, compared to 11.4 percent on June 30, the New York Fed said.
The number of new bankruptcies fell 16 percent from the previous quarter.
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