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Mortgage delinquency dropped in 2011's fourth quarter

Last week, we talked about some statistics regarding the U.S. credit card delinquency rate. Today, will we be discussing some statistics regarding the delinquency rate of another type of debt consumers sometimes hold, mortgage debt.

The statistics are from the Mortgage Bankers Association and they regard the mortgage delinquency rate in the U.S. in 2011's fourth quarter. The mortgage delinquency rate measures the percentage of mortgages in which payments are behind by one month or more.

Reportedly, the mortgage delinquency rate in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 7.58 percent. This reportedly is a decrease from 2011's third quarter. Reportedly, the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate was 7.99 percent in 2011's third quarter.

Furthermore, the fourth quarter mortgage delinquency rate reportedly is the lowest quarterly rate the U.S. has seen in over three years. The last time the U.S. experienced a lower mortgage delinquency rate was in 2008's third quarter.

Thus, it appears that mortgage delinquency in the U.S. is dropping. One wonders what this trend indicates. Is this trend an indication that consumers in the U.S. are facing fewer struggles when it comes to mortgage debt now than they have in the past couple of years? Or is this trend indicating something else? One also wonders why the U.S. saw a quarter-to-quarter drop in mortgage delinquency in 2011's fourth quarter when it saw a quarter-to-quarter rise in credit card delinquency in this same quarter. What accounts for these seemingly contrasting trends? It will be interesting to see how the above-mentioned questions are ultimately answered.

Source: Bloomberg, "Mortgage Delinquencies in U.S. Decline as Employment Market Improves," Prashant Gopal, Feb. 16, 2012

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