Mortgage Delinquencies Double from Year Earlier: Equifax

April 7, 2009 No Comments »

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Mortgage delinquencies more than doubled from a year ago, according to credit reporting bureau Equifax.

In February, seven percent of homeowners with mortgages were at least 30 days late, up more than 50 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The delinquency rate for subprime borrowers increased to 39.8 percent from 23.7 percent last year, meaning four out of ten of these homeowners can’t make their monthly mortgage payments.

Dann Adams, president of U.S. Information Systems for Equifax Inc, said the increase in delinquencies foreshadows more foreclosures, short sales, and home price declines, despite recent optimistic reports talking about a housing bottom on the horizon.

Rising unemployment is adding to these woes, forcing more borrowers to turn to credit cards for relief.

Unfortunately, banks are clamping down on borrowers’ credit cards as well; during February, eight million credit card accounts were closed, reducing the number of outstanding cards to 400 million from a July 2008 peak of 483 million.

Credit limits are also being slashed on open cards, down to a combined $3.27 trillion from a July 2008 peak of $3.59 trillion.

Meanwhile, bank card delinquency is at its highest level in the past five years, with 4.5 percent of bank-issued credit cards 60 days or more past due in February, a 32.7 percent from a year ago.

This double whammy could put even more homeowners on the road to foreclosure, delaying that recovery some seem to think is just months away.

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