Flat or declining wages and rising job losses are raising the risk of mortgage delinquency in some cities that have not had large numbers of foreclosures, according to a report First American CoreLogic Inc. released last week.

Eight of the 10 riskiest mortgage markets are still in California, the unit of First American Corp. in Santa Ana said, but many other cities, including Honolulu, Buffalo, Youngstown, Ohio, and Syracuse, N.Y., are showing higher delinquency risk, because of deteriorating local economies and job losses

The unit's fourth-quarter Core Mortgage Risk index, which forecasts the delinquency risk in 380 metropolitan markets, rose 12% from a year earlier, First American CoreLogic said. In the third quarter it rose 15%.

The index is 54% higher than it was in the first quarter of 2002, at the end of the last economic recession, the report said.

The rate of decline in home prices appears to have stabilized this quarter, First American CoreLogic said.

Riverside, Calif., and Los Angeles remained the riskiest markets, followed by Phoenix, Sacramento, and Miami.

Louisville, Cleveland, and Charlotte had the lowest risk of mortgage delinquency, largely because house prices are growing or barely decreasing in those markets, the report said.

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