The rate of home borrowers more than 60 days late on their mortgage loans fell to 5.49% in the second quarter ended June 30, and has dropped nearly 9% in the first six months of the year, according to TransUnion.

The credit-reporting agency released the data as part of its quarterly analyses of credit-active U.S. consumers and how they are managing mortgages, credit cards and auto loans.

Between the first and second quarters, all but five states experienced decreases in their mortgage delinquency rates, TransUnion reported. On a more granular level, 76% of Metropolitan Statistical Areas saw improvement in their mortgage delinquency rates in the second quarter. This is up from the previous two quarters when 73% of MSAs in the first quarter of this year and 36% in the fourth quarter of last year experienced improvement.

“While it is a positive sign to see mortgage delinquency rates decrease, meaning more and more homeowners were able to make their mortgage payments, the rate of the decline is still not at a pace that will push levels significantly closer to pre-recession norms,” says Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. Housing in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “The pace of improvement should pick up when we review third quarter results, helped by a few months of relatively good news on home prices, this year’s resurgence in refinance activity related to HARP 2.0 and record low mortgage interest rates."

Two of the states most negatively impacted by the mortgage crisis – Arizona and California – have seen the greatest improvement in mortgage delinquencies on a year-over-year basis.

California’s mortgage delinquency rate since the second quarter of 2011 has dropped nearly 22% to 6.13%, while Arizona’s rate in the same period declined 21% to 6.14%, TransUnion said. Both states had double-digit delinquency levels just two years ago.

Many other states have experienced stabilization in home prices, though unemployment levels continue to remain high. Looking at a multitude of economic factors, TransUnion’s forecast predicts mortgage delinquency rates will maintain their downward trajectory for the remainder of this year.

“The economy has not grown at a robust rate, but it does continue to slowly improve and we believe the improvement in mortgage delinquencies will follow a similar pattern,” says Martin. “With steadying home prices, and mortgage interest rates remaining at extremely low levels, it appears that market conditions are set up to allow for further declines in the mortgage delinquency rate.”

In June, a TransUnion study of how consumers perform on other loans opened after a serious mortgage delinquency revealed that those receiving mortgage modifications outperformed those who did not on new consumer loans.

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