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About 10% of LI borrowers late paying mortgage

Almost 9.7 percent of Long Island's mortgage borrowers were at least 90 days late on payments in August, according to the latest figures from CoreLogic, a mortgage data provider.

That's higher than the national, delinquency rate of 7.8 percent but nowhere near figures for places that have been constantly in foreclosure news. For example, Miami has a 27.2 percent delinquency rate, while it's 12.4 percent for Phoenix, said the California-based firm, which gets data from lenders and loan servicers.

While many data providers track local foreclosure cases and compare numbers to the total number of households in that area, CoreLogic tracks the crisis differently. It looks at just the pool of mortgage borrowers in calculating the foreclosure rate, and it also goes further by calculating the delinquency rate.

Looking at both the delinquency and foreclosure rates can give a glimpse into what's going on and raise more questions.

For example, while Long Island's delinquency rate was 9.7 percent, about 4.6 percent of borrowers here were in the foreclosure process.

Usually, lenders can start foreclosure after the homeowner is 90 days late.

The gap between the two rates show that lenders may not be starting foreclosure cases against many Long Islanders in default.

The question is why. While several lenders say they file a foreclosure case after three months, some borrowers' attorneys say lenders don't want to make their books look worse.

Another explanation: New York state requires lenders to send a 90-day warning to the homeowner before filing a foreclosure case.

In any case, the gap in rates shows there are many more people that could wind up in foreclosures, choking the court system, delaying the housing market's recovery and more.

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