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Record Home Loan Lates

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Quarterly delinquency climbed to the highest level on record as the rate of increase accelerated. Still, there were pockets of the country that saw an improvement.

Fourth-quarter 2009 delinquency of at least 60 days on residential loans averaged a record 6.89 percent, TransUnion reported today. The findings were extracted from around 27 million anonymous, randomly sampled, individual credit files accounting for around 10 percent of credit-active U.S. consumers.

Late payments during the third quarter were 6.25 percent, while fourth-quarter 2008 delinquency was just 4.58 percent.

It was the 12th consecutive quarter that late payments worsened. In addition, the rate of increase accelerated.

“These results are in part due to seasonality effects,” TransUnion executive FJ Guarrera said in the report. “Consumers tend to run low on cash at the end of the year, after spending for the holidays, but before receiving year-end bonuses and tax refunds.”

A year ago, the credit repository predicted that the delinquency rate could reach 8 percent by Dec. 31, 2009. Today’s report indicated that late payments are expected to peak at between 7.5 percent and 8.0 percent this year

During the most recent period, Nevada’s 16.19 percent delinquency was higher than any other state. Florida followed with a 14.93 percent rate. The lowest level of late payments was in South Dakota: 2.46 percent.

Washington, D.C.’s, 20 percent increase from the third quarter was the more than any of the 50 states, though Louisiana’s 18 percent increase wasn’t far behind. But no states improved.

However, delinquency did decrease from the third quarter in 38 metropolitan statistical areas — with Corvallis, Ore.; Lafayette, Ind.; and Sharon, Pa., decreasing the most.

Mortgage borrowers saw their average mortgage debt edge up to $193,690 from the prior quarter’s $193,121 and the prior year’s $192,789.

In the nation’s capitol, the average mortgage debt per borrower of $372,869 was highest, then California’s $352,688 and Hawaii’s $317,599. West Virginia’s $99,028 was the lowest.

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