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Foreclosures fall off significantly

WASHINGTON — The number of borrowers falling behind on their mortgage payments dropped sharply at the end of last year, a sign the foreclosure crisis is beginning to ebb.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Friday the percentage of borrowers who missed just one payment on their home loans fell to 3.63 percent in the October to December quarter, down from 3.79 percent in the third quarter. The decline was even more remarkable because delinquencies usually rise at during that time of year because of heating bills and holiday spending.

However, more than 15 percent of homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment or were in foreclosure, a new record

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