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National mortgage loan delinquency rate increases

The national mortgage loan delinquency rate recently showed increases.

The national mortgage loan delinquency rate recently showed increases.

According to TransUnion, the national mortgage delinquency rate increased for the second time since 2009 to 6.01 percent at the end of the fourth quarter in 2011.

TransUnion provides quarterly analyses of credit-active U.S. consumers and how they manage their credit related to mortgages, credit cards and auto loans.

"To see that, quarter over quarter, fewer homeowners were able to make their mortgage payments is not welcome news," said Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. housing in TransUnion's financial services business unit. "First, there tends to be a natural seasonality, evident well before the recession, of higher delinquencies in the fourth quarter; perhaps explained by borrowers balancing holiday spending vs. debt payments. Secondly, on the economic front, house prices continued to deteriorate in the fourth quarter and unemployment remained stubbornly high."

Martin added that the combination of factors lead to more negative equity in homes and decreased personal income, which can affect borrowers' ability to pay mortgages.

Home values also continued to decline in the fourth quarter of 2011, encouraging Americans to start packing and move into their dream homes before values begin to increase.