Posted: 03 Mar 2009 08:00 AM PST
Mortgage delinquencies are on the rise nationwide, but the news may not be as bad as it appears at first glance.
Using anonymous data from its national credit database, TransUnion reports that 4.58 percent of American homeowners were at least 60 days past due on mortgage payments last quarter.
Comparing the statistic to the data from a year ago, the credit reporting agency goes on to say that mortgage delinquencies are up 53 percent.
Although fair, the comparison carries a distinct, negative connotation because if we flip the data to its positive, the statistics don't seem nearly as menacing.
Consider: In the last quarter of 2008, 4.58 percent of homeowners were delinquent on their respective mortgages. The positive sign, therefore, is that 95.42 percent of homeowners were not delinquent on their home loans.
Furthermore, in looking at TransUnion's data for the 5 largest states in the Union, it's clear that the national delinquency rate is being skewed by California and Florida. New York and Texas, for example, exhibit delinquency rates below the national 4.58 percent marker.
North Dakota's delinquency rate hovers near 1 percent.
Headlines are designed to attract eyeballs and nothing else. To get the complete story, therefore -- the real story -- it never hurts to dig a little deeper into the facts.
(Image courtesy: TransUnion)