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Mortgage delinquency rate up for first time in two years

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The national delinquency rate for borrowers who are 60 days or more past due on their mortgages rose for the first time in two years during the recent third quarter, TransUnion said Tuesday. The delinquency rate for seriously past due loans edged up to 5.88% in 3Q, TransUnion reported. "Until this quarter, we had seen six straight quarters where progressively more people were able to make their mortgage payments on time," said Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. Housing in TransUnion's financial services business unit. "We expected that trend to continue given recent, relatively more conservative lending policies and the apparent stabilization of both home values and unemployment." Martin said the six quarters of relative stability were disrupted by unanticipated shocks to the American economy in the third quarter. Those shocks included the European debt crisis, high unemployment, falling home values and low consumer confidence. "All of this affects a borrower's net worth and desire, or ability, to continue making house payments — especially if they are facing negative equity in their homes due to price depreciation," said Martin. All but 10 U.S. states and the District of Columbia experienced a jump in mortgage delinquency rates when comparing the third quarter to the second, TransUnion said. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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