Mortgage Delinquencies Jump in Areas Hit Hard by Sandy

Mortgage delinquencies have jumped about four times the U.S. average in areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, according to Lender Processing Services Inc.

The share of loans with late payments rose 3.7 percent nationwide from August to November, the Jacksonville, Florida-based company said in a report today. In ZIP codes hit hardest by the storm, delinquencies surged 15.4 percent in Connecticut, 15.2 percent in New Jersey and 14.8 percent in New York.

Sandy made landfall on Oct. 29, killing more than 100 people, inundating New York City’s subway system and destroying waterfront properties from New Jersey’s Atlantic City to Greenwich, Connecticut. While many homeowners fell behind because of brief disruptions, such as difficulty retrieving mail after the storm, some people lost homes and jobs that won’t be replaced easily, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of, a Pompton Plains, New Jersey-based mortgage-information website.

“A good portion of these are probably temporary,” he said in a telephone interview. “However, there are people who did suffer from catastrophic loss, whose houses are not habitable.”

Delinquency timelines in the three states, which require judicial review of foreclosures, were already among the longest in the nation before the storm struck.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said on Nov. 9 that they would suspend evictions and foreclosure sales for 90 days in storm-disaster areas. The government-backed housing-finance agencies will allow firms that service their loans to extend forbearance plans for as long as 12 months.

The U.S. mortgage-delinquency rate was 7.12 percent in November, up from 7.03 percent the previous month, Lender Processing Services said. Florida, New Jersey, Mississippi, Nevada and New York had the highest percentage of non-current home loans, according to the report.

(Updates with comment from analyst in fourth paragraph.)
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