Although rumors abound that reserves in the Federal Housing Administration's capital cushion may turn negative sometime next year, delinquencies on government-backed loans — including those in the 90-day plus category — fell in the third quarter, according to brand new figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

MBA reported that all FHA loans had a delinquency rate of 11.14% at Sept. 30 compared to 11.89% in June and 12.09% a year ago.

Seriously delinquent loans fell to 8.54% at Sept. 30 from 9% at June 30. However, a year ago, the seriously delinquent rate was lower at 8.39%.

The trade group reported that all outstanding mortgages were late by 7.4% at Sept. 30 an improvement over the second quarter (7.58%) and third quarter of 2011 (7.99%). This includes conventional, government and subprime mortgages.

How the latest delinquency figures will affect FHA's capital levels remains to be seen. The agency is expected to release its annual actuarial report Friday and it is expected to show that its capital reserves will be depleted next year due to rising delinquencies.

According to figures compiled by National Mortgage News and the Quarterly Data Report, consumers owe roughly $9.4 trillion on their home loans.

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