Fannie Mae said serious delinquencies on single-family mortgages declined further in October from September, while Freddie Mac reported that such delinquencies turned up in November for a second straight month, after seeing declines since February.

While the number of U.S. households behind on their mortgage payments declined during the third quarter, the number of newly initiated foreclosures rose as banks continued to clear a backlog of delinquent loans.

Fannie said the serious-delinquency rate on mortgages in its portfolio or that it guarantees fell to 4.52% in October from 4.56% in September and 4.98% a year earlier.

It also reported that its mortgage portfolio fell 0.7% to $793 billion in November from October, rising 5.4% from a year earlier. Its book of business, which includes mortgage-backed securities and other guarantees, increased to $3.215 trillion, or by a 1.2% annual rate.

Meanwhile, Freddie's serious delinquencies on single-family homes edged up to 3.85% last month from 3.82% in October and 3.83% a year earlier. Its portfolio declined at an annualized rate of 4.2% to $2.172 trillion.

Refinance-loan purchase volume was $38 billion, up 15% on the month, and made up 82% of total mortgage purchases and issuances.

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