Mortgage Delinquencies Fall in the Third Quarter

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Fewer mortgage holders have been falling behind on their payments, with delinquencies -- payments more than 60 days late -- in the third quarter making their biggest decline in the last four years, TransUnion said Monday.

National delinquencies fell to 6.44% in the quarter, compared to 6.67% in the second quarter, although the number still represents in increase from the 6.25% rate in the third quarter of last year. That marks the largest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2006, more than double the declines in the first and second quarter of this year, in a sign that more homeowners have shored up their finances enough to make their house payments.

Additionally, homeowners have gradually cut their outstanding balances. The average third-quarter debt per borrower was $190,176, which was 0.6% less than the second-quarter average and a 1.5% drop from the average a year earlier, TransUnion said.

Still, large balances continue to plagued residents in some states. California's average outstanding mortgage debt was $342,695, which trailed only Washington D.C's $368,255 as the highest in the nation. Hawaii residents had an average outstanding balance of $309,536.

Meanwhile, West Virginia residents had the lowest average outstanding mortgage among U.S. states at $100,263, according to TransUnion.

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