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For Average foreclosure:last payment 492 days ago

The average borrower in the foreclosure process hadn’t made a payment in 492 days as of the end of October, according to LPS. That compares to 382 days a year ago and a low of 244 days in August 2007.

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Banks can’t foreclose fast enough to keep up with all the people defaulting on their mortgage loans. Stiffing the bank becoming even more attractive to struggling borrowers

The number of borrowers entering severe delinquency (meaning they missed their third monthly mortgage payment) has been on the decline, falling to about 700,000 in October, according to mortgage-data provider LPS Applied Analytics. But it’s still more than double the number of foreclosure processes started.

In other words, people who default on their mortgages can reasonably expect, on average, to stay in their homes rent-free more than 16 months. In some states such as New York and Florida, the number is closer to 20 months.

That’s a meaningful incentive, and it’s likely to grow unless banks manage to boost their throughput. Speeding up the process won’t be easy, as demonstrated by the banks’ continuing legal troubles related to robo-signers. Millions of Americans still are paying their mortgages even though they owe more than their homes are worth. The more banks’ backlog grows, the more likely they are to join it, adding to the already giant pile of foreclosures weighing on the housing market.

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