Mortgage delinquencies will get worse before they get better, with more than 4 percent of mortgages 60+ days in arrears by the end of this year, according to analysis by TransUnion's financial services group. Less than 3 percent of mortgages were 60+ days delinquent to start 2008. TransUnion's quarterly analysis found that average mortgage debt per mortgage borrower nationally fell 3.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2007; only two states showed any increases in average mortgage debt from the previous quarter -- Hawaii (0.31 percent) and Alaska (0.22 percent), with West Virginia showing the smallest percent decline (-0.11 percent). "The market continues to see the effect of the mortgage crisis in the steeply increasing mortgage delinquency rates among borrowers across the country," said Keith Carson, a senior consultant in TransUnion's financial services group. The top three areas showing the greatest growth in delinquency from previous quarters were Florida (34 percent), California (33 percent) and Arizona (32 percent), according to TransUnion. It's worth noting -- especially amongst the constant drumming of bad housing news -- that states such as Alaska and Montana actually experienced a drop in their delinquency rates over the previous quarter (-21 percent and -5.6 percent, respectively). Nevada, however, is anticipated to be the area of the country that will experience the highest average delinquency rate in 2008, at 9.34 percent of mortgage holders; North Dakota is forecast to register nationa's lowest level of delinquency, TransUnion said. While borrower delinquencies are expected to pile up further throughout 2008, TransUnion noted that it expects the rise in mortgage delinquency rates to taper off in 2009, as economic conditions improve and home prices begin to stabilize. For more information, visit