A new report says that any signs of stabilization in the nation's home loan delinquency and foreclosure rates are still being neutralized by the sheer volume of loans in distress.

The report, released by Lender Processing Services based on data current at the end of April, reported there are more than 7.3 million loans in distress nationwide, a number which includes real estate owned (REO).  Compared to one year ago, overall delinquency and foreclosure figures were up markedly.  In April 2009 the number of distressed loans totaled 6.36 million.  The increase did however occur principally in the later stages of delinquency.  Loans 30+ in arrears declined from 1.63 million to 1.48 million while those in the 60+ bucket were down from 0.72 million to 0.63 million.   In the 90+ day category, loans were up from 1.69 million to 2.39 million and the number of foreclosures increased from 1.44 million to 1.71 million.

The report said that the increase in the numbers of loans in the 90+ and foreclosure buckets was being driven by borrowers in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).  The average days of delinquency also increased substantially, probably also a reflection of HAMP activity.  In April 2009, the average days a loan was in the 90+ bucket  was 203.  In the most recent report the average was 275.  Similarly, average days of delinquency for loans in foreclosure increased from 329 to 438.

New problem loans, or loans that were current as of January 1 but have since fallen 60 days delinquent as of April, are lower than one year ago but still elevated compared to historic levels.

The report puts the U.S. loan delinquency rate at 8.99 percent and the total foreclosure rate at 3.18 percent.

Overall there was some improvement in the total number of distressed loans seen since the March report.  The number of distressed loans fell from 7.39 million to 7.31 million. Loans 90+ days delinquent declined to 4,074,433 from 4,186,627 one month earlier.  60+ delinquencies loans were down by about 28,000 to 631,000.  30+ day delinquent loans increased on a month-to-month basis from 1.45 million in March to 1.48 million in April.

Conversely, the report said, "deterioration ratios remain high, with two loans rolling to a 'worse' status for every one loan that has improved and the overall volume of loans moving from delinquent to current status declined to a three-month low supported primarily by "artificial cures" associated with HAMP modifications."

Foreclosure sales increased from 1.1 million to 1.13 million, as, the report said, more loans are deemed ineligible for HAMP and are moving through the system.

Eight states lead the nation in foreclosure.  Their names are familiar by now; Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Arizona, Georgia, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan and Rhode Island; while North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, have the fewest non-current loans.

The Monitor report uses a repository of loan-level residential mortgage data and performance information maintained by Lender Processing Services for nearly 40 million loans.