Builders have been squeezed by a credit crunch for more than a year now, but the situation is not likely to improve anytime soon, given the deteriorating performance of real estate loans, according to the latest banking data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

In 2009’s third quarter, FDIC-insured institutions reported that 15% of their $492.2 billion in loans for real estate construction and development were nonperforming, meaning that that payments were either more than 90 days past due or in nonpayment status. That’s a worsening from the previous quarter, when 13.45% of such loans were noncurrent.

It also continues to be more than double the rate of such problems for the real estate category overall at such banks, where 6.11% of all real estate loans were nonperforming. That, too, is an increase from the previous quarter.

In terms of charge-offs, FDIC-insured banks have now written off 4.79% of their construction and development loans year-to-date. That is also significantly higher than the category’s overall charge-off rate of 1.87%.

Overall, FDIC-insured institutions had $4.5 trillion worth of real estate loans outstanding in the third quarter, according to the FDIC quarterly banking profile. While that is relatively unchanged from the previous quarter, the amount of construction and development loans outstanding slipped 8.1%, to $492.2 billion.

At the same time, their real estate owned (REO) inventory—of both single-family homes and projects in development or under construction—continues to grow. Banks now have more than $37 billion in REOs on their books, the largest share (40%) of which is construction and development REO property at $14.9 billion.

REOs for 1-4 family residential properties (such as single-family homes or duplexes) add up to $12.4 billion, or 33% of the FDIC-insured institutions’ REO inventory.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.