Quarterly delinquency continued to rise but is expected to taper off, a new analysis of credit records indicated.
Delinquency of at least 60 days on mortgage loans was 3.23 percent in the first quarter, TransUnion.com said in a press release today. Late payments rose from 2.99 percent in the fourth quarter and 2.00 percent a year earlier.
The latest figures, which were based on an analysis of 27 million randomly sampled consumer records, represents the fifth consecutive quarter that delinquency has risen.
"This increase was not as substantial as was seen between the third and fourth quarters of 2007, possibly reflecting the impact of a tightening in the lending policies of financial institutions," TransUnion Senior Consultant Keith Carson said in the announcement.
The company forecasts 60-day delinquency will climb just above 4.00 percent by the end of the year due the combined effects of the mortgage crisis and continued economic deterioration.
"However, TransUnion forecasts that in 2009 the rise in mortgage delinquency rates is expected to taper off as economic conditions improve and home prices begin to stabilize," the report said.
Nevada had the highest first-quarter delinquency rate of any state -- 5.81 percent -- according to the report. Florida followed, at 5.38 percent. Late payments jumped 28 percent in Alaska -- the highest increase of any state -- and was up a little more than one-quarter in California and almost one-quarter in Nevada.
TransUnion noted that North Dakota had the lowest rate, with 1.17 percent of borrowers being delinquent. Delinquency dropped 16 percent in Wyoming.
The average mortgage size nationally was $191,917, rising from $191,370 in the fourth quarter and $182,126 during the first quarter 2007.
"Although the fundamentals underlying the mortgage crises are still present, some consumers are beginning to incur more debt with the expectation that perhaps 2008 could represent a year with excellent buying opportunities," TransUnion explained.