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TransUnion Projects Drop in Delinquencies, but Rate Remains High

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Nov 13, 2012) - The national mortgage delinquency rate (the rate of borrowers 60 or more days past due) declined slightly for the third consecutive quarter, dropping from 5.49% in Q2 2012 to 5.41% in Q3 2012. On a year-over-year basis, the mortgage delinquency rate has declined nearly 8% from 5.88% in Q3 2011.

"Continued declines in mortgage delinquency rates are a welcome sign and reflect that relatively more homeowners are able and willing to make their mortgage payments each month," said Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. Housing in TransUnion's financial services business unit. "However, we still have a long way to go to reach more 'normal' conditions of a delinquency rate in the 1-2% range for the U.S. average."

Twenty-two states experienced improvement in their mortgage delinquency rates from last quarter. Forty-two states experienced improvement from last year.

Interestingly, at a more granular level only 49% of metropolitan areas saw quarterly improvement in their mortgage delinquency rates in Q3 2012. This is a significant departure from the previous two quarters, when 76% (Q2 2012) and 73% (Q1 2012) of the MSAs experienced improvement.

Arizona and California, two of the states most negatively impacted by the mortgage crisis, experienced the greatest improvement in mortgage delinquency rates on a year-over-year basis. Since the third quarter of 2011, Arizona's has dropped nearly 25% from 7.46% to 5.62%. California has dropped almost 24% in that same time, from 7.29% to 5.56%. Currently, only two states remain with double-digit delinquencies -- Florida at 13.09% and Nevada at 10.93% -- and both of those states showed improvement year over year.

TransUnion expects the mortgage delinquency rate to fall again in the 4th quarter, but only slightly. "It's generally tough to expect improvement in delinquency rates in the fourth quarter of the year given the extra demands on household income that many experience during the holiday season," said Martin. "However, we saw some improvement in the housing market in the third quarter with regard to house prices, home sales and increased refinance activity, and we believe we will start to see these numbers reflected in improved mortgage delinquency next quarter. As such, we forecast the year-end delinquency rate to improve to something in the 5.25%-5.35% range."

TransUnion's forecast is based on various economic assumptions, such as gross state product, consumer sentiment, unemployment rates, real personal income, and real estate values. The forecast would change if there are unanticipated shocks to the economy affecting recovery in the housing market or if home prices fall more than expected.

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