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U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in the month of April, the Commerce Department reported this week, with builders breaking ground at an annual pace of 717,000 homes. The seasonally adjusted pace is 2.6 percent more than the revised 699,000 annual pace for the month of March. Compared to April 2011, residential housing construction was up by almost 30 percent. The increase is a sign that the housing market may finally be regaining momentum – almost five years after the housing bubble burst.
Total foreclosure filings in April decreased for the third month in a row. The percentage of loans in foreclosure fell to 11.33 percent in the first quarter to the lowest level since 2008, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The percentage of loans 90 days past due or in the process of foreclosure – known as the serious delinquency rate – dropped to 7.44 percent.
“The declines we saw were even greater than the normal seasonal adjustments would predict, so delinquencies are clearly continuing to improve,” Michael Fratantoni, MBA vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. “Newer delinquencies, loans one payment past due as of March 31, are down to the lowest levels since the middle of 2007, indicating fewer problems we will need to deal with in the future.”
Although that percentage has decreased, it remains at a historically high level.