California and three other states continued to take an outsize share of the blame for the foreclosure epidemic sweeping the nation.
The Mortgage Bankers Assn. reported Thursday that foreclosures were at record levels, with 1.37% of all home loans nationally starting the foreclosure process during the first quarter of the year.
However, in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona -- states where housing boomed the most and now has crashed hardest -- the rate of homes entering foreclosure was 2.45%, the trade association said.
"Those states account for about 46% of the foreclosure starts in the country and represented 56% of the increase in foreclosure starts, including half of the increase in prime fixed-rate foreclosure starts," the association's chief economist, Jay Brinkmann, said in a statement. "It is difficult to overstate the severe impact home price declines have had on mortgage performance in those four states."