Make us your home page

Late mortgage payments halt rise

NEW YORK — The rate at which U.S. homeowners fell behind on their mortgage payments remained stubbornly elevated in the second quarter.

In the three months ended June 30, 6.67 percent of mortgage holders were 60 days or more behind on their payments, credit reporting agency Trans­Union said Tuesday. That's a big jump from 5.81 percent in the second quarter of last year, and well above the historical norm of 1.5 to 2 percent.

Driving up the national rate are the four states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis: Florida, Nevada, Arizona and California. In each of those, the rate is above 10 percent, with Nevada leading at 15.86 percent, compared with 13.8 percent a year ago. In Florida, the delinquency rate rose to 15 percent, from 12.3 percent last year.

North and South Dakota remain at the low end for the nation, at 1.61 percent and 2.23 percent, respectively.

One positive sign is that the statistics mark a marginal improvement from the rate of 6.77 percent recorded during the first three months of the year. It's also below the 6.89 percent record reached in the fourth quarter of 2009.

"We're seeing signs of recovering in terms of delinquency," said F.J. Guarrera, vice president in TransUnion's financial services unit.

TransUnion uses a 60-day delinquency rate as a warning sign of potential foreclosure. That's because it would be difficult for homeowners having financial problems to make up two payments to bring their account current.

The data come days after foreclosure listing firm Realty­Trac Inc. said the number of U.S. homes lost to foreclosure in July surged 6 percent from last year. That jump indicates that more banks stepped up repossessions to clear out their backlog of bad loans.

"A lot of foreclosures continue to work their way through the system," Guarrera said. Although the delinquency data do look back a few months, the figures show a slight improvement that could indicate foreclosures will start to slow, he said.

There were 12 states that showed increased delinquency rates in the second quarter, whereas a year ago the figure worsened in nearly every state, Guarrera said.

The figures point toward a very slow recovery. TransUnion expects the delinquency rate to drift down for the rest of the year, nearing 6.4 percent nationally by the end of 2010.

Worst-off states

TransUnion's forecast for states facing the worst mortgage delinquency and foreclosure prospects:

>> Florida: The delinquency rate could hit 16.2 percent by year end, but TransUnion expects late payments to start declining in 2011.

>> Arizona: The delinquency rate will likely hover between 9.5 and 10 percent for the next several quarters, and is forecast to start dipping in mid 2011.

>> California: The worst may be behind it. TransUnion expects the delinquency rate to stay close to its current level through 2010 and then show a steady decrease.

>> Georgia: There are signs of further trouble. The state now has the fifth-highest delinquency rate at 7.69 percent.

>> Nevada: The rate is expected to start falling by the end of this year, but remain above 10 percent through 2012.

Late mortgage payments halt rise 08/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  2. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  3. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  4. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.
  5. Honda denies covering up dangers of Takata air bags


    With just a third of the defective Takata air bag inflators replaced nationwide, the corporate blame game of who will take responsibility — and pay — for the issue has shifted into another gear.

    Honda is denying covering up dangers of Takata air bags. | [Scott McIntyre, New York Times]