Mortgage Delinquencies Rise for 12th Straight Quarter: TransUnion

Mortgage delinquencies of 60 or more days rose for the 12th straight quarter, hitting a record high 6.89% in Q409, according to market research by credit bureau TransUnion. The rate of deceleration seen in previous quarters in the rise in delinquencies appears “short lived,” the credit bureau said. Year-over-year, the delinquency rate is up about 50% from 4.58% delinquent in Q408. TransUnion, one of the major US credit bureaus, conducts a survey of exactly 27m credit files from its total consumer base, or about one in every nine consumer files in its database of 250m consumer files each quarter, a spokesperson previously told HousingWire. States with the highest delinquency rates in Q409 were led by Nevada with 16.19% delinquent. Florida came in second with 14.93% delinquent. North Dakota had the lowest delinquency rate of 1.84%, while South Dakota and Alaska came in only slightly higher at 2.46% and 2.84% respectively, TransUnion said. Thirty-eight Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) showed decreasing delinquency rates since Q309, including Corvallis, OR; Lafayette, IN; and Sharon, PA. “At a more granular level, variations in delinquency highlight the fact that the recession and the eventual recovery are both regional phenomena tied for the most part to localized house price conditions and unemployment levels,” said FJ Guarrera, vice president of the TransUnion financial services business unit, in a press statement. Guarrera added: “We’re not out of the woods yet. The continuing rise in foreclosures, in conjunction with low consumer confidence in the housing market, continues to hinder housing value appreciation and impede recovery in the mortgage industry.” TransUnion projects the 60-day delinquency rate will peak between 7.5% and 8% over the course of 2010. TransUnion previously projected the delinquency rate would come in just under 7% by year-end 2009. That estimate is not far off – by only 11 bps – after the rate rose to 6.25% in Q309 (illustrated below, from TransUnion’s Web site), from 5.81% in Q209. The bureau in December projected that delinquencies will drop nearly 3% by year-end 2010 to 6.39%; but that was when the year-end delinquency rate was expected to come in around 6.56% rather than the current 6.89%. Part of the rise in delinquencies may come from a trend of more borrowers than ever before choosing to pay down credit card debt before making mortgage payments. TransUnion found the share of borrowers who were delinquent on their mortgages but current on their credit cards rose to 6.6% in Q309 from 4.3% in Q108. At the same time, the share of borrowers that were delinquent on credit cards but current on mortgages slipped to 3.6% from 4.1%. Write to Diana Golobay.

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