Mortgage loan delinquency increased for the eighth straight quarter in 2008, hitting a national average high of 4.58% for the fourth quarter, according to TransUnion's recently released analysis of mortgage industry trends. This statistic is up almost 16% from the previous quarter's 3.96% average and up approximately 53% from the same period last year (2.99%).
Mortgage borrower delinquency rates in the fourth quarter of 2008 were highest in Florida (9.52%) and Nevada (9.01%), while the lowest mortgage delinquency rates were found in North Dakota (1.21%), Alaska (1.74%) and South Dakota (1.97%). The three areas showing the greatest percentage growth in delinquency from the previous quarter were Arizona (26.2%), Montana (24.5%) and South Dakota (23.9%).
North Dakota and Alaska both showed a decline in mortgage delinquency rates, down respectively from the previous quarter's 10% and 19%.
The average national mortgage debt per borrower rose slightly to $192,789 from the previous quarter's $192,287, TransUnion says. On a year-over-year basis, the fourth-quarter 2008 average represents a 0.74% increase compared to the fourth quarter 2007 average of $191,370.
‘The fourth quarter of 2008 showed not only an increase in the nation's unemployment rate and declines in both home prices and per capita disposable income, but a downward slide in consumer confidence," says Keith Carson, a senior consultant in TransUnion's financial services group. "As a result, home ownership continues to deteriorate in a credit market that has shown little signs of thawing, even for the most credit worthy consumers.’
Carson additionally forecasts that 2009 delinquency rates will reach a high of 8% or more by year-end.
‘Economic factors will continue to have a significant impact on the credit markets as unemployment increases and housing prices continue to erode. However, if government efforts to reduce mortgage rates are successful, there could be a gradual increase in home purchases, moving toward a stabilization of housing prices and a decrease in mortgage loan delinquencies in 2010.’