|The surge in mortgage delinquency as a result of the current recession is already more than three times worse than the period that included the bursting of the 'Dot Com' bubble and the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a new report that predicts defaults will nearly double by yearend.
Fourth-quarter mortgage delinquency of at least 60 days hit 4.58 percent, TransUnion.com reported today. Delinquency climbed from the third quarter's 3.96 percent and was significantly higher than 2.99 percent during the fourth-quarter 2007.
TransUnion.com said the latest period was the eighth consecutive quarter that mortgage delinquency worsened.
The Chicago-based credit repository said its findings were based on data extracted from around 27 million anonymous credit files. Each individual record included 200 credit variables.
The impact of the current recession on mortgage delinquency was compared to the 2000 to 2001 period when Internet stocks collapsed and the country was attacked by terrorists.
"During that time, the mortgage delinquency ratio increased by almost 28 percent," the report said. "While considered a large increase at the time, in comparison to the delinquency impact of the current recession it might be viewed as modest.
"This time around, the national average mortgage delinquency rate has increased by almost 79 percent to date -- essentially tripling what occurred in the last recession."
A TransUnion official noted in the press release that loan performance is being impacted by deteriorating employment, declining consumer confidence and worsening financial market conditions.
TransUnion forecasted that delinquency will reach or exceed 8 percent by Dec. 31.
Florida had the highest rate of late payments during the fourth quarter, at 9.52 percent, the report indicated. TransUnion expects Florida to maintain its worst-state distinction throughout 2009 -- with delinquency projected to double by the end of the year.
Nevada was next, with a 9.01 percent delinquency rate. North Dakota's rate of 1.21 percent was the lowest of any state.
Delinquency deteriorated the most in Arizona, which saw late payments increase 26 percent from the third quarter; Montana, where delinquency jumped by one-quarter; and South Dakota, where late payments rose 24 percent.
But delinquency declined in Alaska and North Dakota -- where it is projected to stay lowest this year.
California, Washington, D.C., and Hawaii had the highest average loan balances respectively at $356,421, $354,082 and $310,289. Average mortgage debt per borrower increased the most in Illinois, where it was up 2.55 percent, while it dropped the most in Washington, D.C., down 2.72 percent.