Delinquencies fall (very slowly)
florida foreclosure

The troubled housing market was marked by record foreclosures, which is why economists closely watch the rate at which homeowners are late on their payments -- they're a precursor to foreclosures. Nationwide, the delinquency rate on mortgages peaked during the last three months of 2009 at 6.89%, after rising 12 quarters in a row from 1.49% in 2006.

As of the latest quarter, the delinquency rate dropped to 5.41%. And for 2013, it's expected to continue dropping -- albeit, slowly to around 2%. Much of the late payments are made up of existing borrowers more than a year late on their payments, as opposed to new borrowers following stricter lending standards. Some of the biggest declines are expected in Nevada, Minnesota, California and Arizona.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated December 27 2012 05:39 AM ET
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