Associated Press
In this May 9, 2008 file photo, a foreclosure sign stands outside an existing home on the market in Denver.

Things are looking up for the housing market, but there is still a long road ahead.

The number of homeowners who are late on mortgage payments has dropped over the last two years, according to the New York Times. Despite the improvements, there are still a significant amount of delinquent mortgages and foreclosures.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s fourth-quarter delinquency report showed 7.58 percent of all residential loans were delinquent at the end of 2011, which is a drop from the 10 percent in 2010. The rate is still above the 5 percent prerecession average.

The good news comes as 12.63 percent of homeowners, about one in eight, faced foreclosure at the end of the year.

Falling behind on mortgage payments always proves costly for borrowers.

“That late payment on a mortgage is going to have a significant negative effect on your credit score,” Rod Griffin, the director of consumer and public education at Experian, told the New York Times.

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