Mortgage delinquencies and the number of homes involved in foreclosure proceedings rose to new post-Depression highs in the second quarter of this year, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported yesterday.

The record-high number of homeowners defaulting on their mortgages is a result of the nation's deep recession and high unemployment, and the MBA said it does not expect the delinquency and foreclosure figures to get better any time soon.

"The outlook for improvement in the delinquency and foreclosure statistics in the third quarter is not good," an MBA analysis stated. "Until economic growth resumes in earnest, unemployment will remain high, and mortgage delinquencies will continue to be a problem."

In the second quarter, 5.56 percent of the nation's 27 million mortgages -- or about 1.5 million home loans -- were in default at least 30 days, up from the 5.35 percent rate in the first quarter of this year, the previous record high.

About 150,000 homes nationwide were in some stage of foreclosure proceedings in the second quarter, also a record. This represents 0.55 percent of all mortgages nationwide, up slightly from the previous record of 0.53 percent set in the first quarter.

About half of the homeowners involved in these proceedings will lose their homes, while the others will work out their delinquency problems with the lender, according to another MBA survey in August. The slight increase in foreclosures in process may mean lenders are working harder with homeowners to resolve defaults, keeping the loans longer in this category rather than actually going all the way to foreclosure.

Foreclosure proceedings started during the quarter represented 0.2 percent of mortgages, the same as in the first quarter.

Delinquency rates rose to 7.07 percent from 6.76 percent a year ago on FHA-insured loans and to 5.99 percent from 5.66 percent on VA-insured loans, while the default rate on conventional loans increased to 3.68 percent from 3.22 percent.

In the District, delinquencies rose from 6.05 percent in the same period a year ago to 6.66 percent this year, while foreclosures in process increased from a rate of 0.73 percent to 0.96 percent.

Virginia and Maryland are at the low end of both the delinquency and foreclosure rate measurements. Virginia defaults declined from a rate of 3.48 percent in the second quarter last year to 3.28 percent this year, among the lowest of the states, while Maryland's rose from 3.56 percent to 3.70 percent. Foreclosure proceedings in process were at 0.2 percent in Virginia, the seventh-lowest in the country, and at 0.36 percent in Maryland.