Continued Delinquencies Kick Off 2009: Equifax

Delinquent mortgages are continuing to pile up according to a new report released Friday by Equifax Inc., which showed the number of mortgage holders who were 30-days-past due in January was up 50 percent from last January. Projections indicate, according to the report, that 30-day mortgage delinquencies, which have continued to increase, will result in even more 60- and 90-day delinquencies. To add to the economic woes, home equity line of credit 30-day delinquency rates saw an accelerated month-over-month increase, Equifax said, rising 3.39 percent from December to January — the largest jump in 10 years. “The rapid increase in unemployment in the fourth quarter of last year may have led to many of the economic ills that the data shows were even more pronounced in January,” said Dann Adams, president of Equifax’s U.S. Consumer Information Systems. Adams said that the continued increase in mortgage delinquencies indicates that a housing correction has yet to take hold. “The latest measures such as loan modification programs and declining interest rates have yet to kick in,” he said. The Credit Trends report found that approximately 65 percent of all current home equity delinquencies are in the South Atlantic and Pacific regions, not surprisingly, reflecting two states – Florida and California — where the housing bubble was the greatest. The report also found that consumer bankruptcies and credit card delinquencies surged over the past year. The volume of consumer bankruptcies in January 2009 was 25 percent higher than January 2008. Most of the increase was in Chapter 7 filings, which is 37 percent higher than the same period last year. Chapter 13 filings increased only six percent. As for credit card delinquencies, they reached their highest level in five years. Write to Kelly Curran at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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