Friday, August 20, 2010

Valley mortgage delinquencies drop

Valley homeowners are doing a better job keeping up with their mortgage payments, according to a new reading of credit-bureau data.

For the second straight quarter, Phoenix-area mortgage delinquencies dipped in the April to June period, reported TransUnion.

As of midyear, 12.3 percent of Valley homeowners were 60 days or more late on payments, down from 12.71 percent in the first quarter and a cyclical peak late last year of 13.16 percent.

Delinquencies also have eased nationally, with 6.67 percent of borrowers two months or more past due in the second quarter, down from 6.77 percent in the first quarter and 6.89 percent late last year.

"We do think we're seeing a trend of improvement," said FJ Guarrera, a vice president in TransUnion's financial-services group.

Some of the most cash-strapped borrowers already have been forced out of their homes, but those who remain are doing a better job saving money, spending less and managing payments, he said.

The TransUnion mortgage study, based on a sampling of thousands of credit reports, coincides with a couple of other promising local statistics.

For example, Valley bankruptcy filings have declined for the past four months.

Also, Arizona's jobless rate has stabilized in the 9.5 percent to 9.6 percent range this year after climbing sharply over the past 2 1/2 years.

Home values and employment are two of the biggest factors influencing mortgage delinquencies, Guarrera said.

Still, the Valley's mortgage-delinquency ratio ranks as the 22nd highest of more than 360 metro areas examined.

by Russ Wiles The Arizona Republic Aug. 20, 2010 12:00 AM

Valley mortgage delinquencies drop

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