Mortgage delinquencies drop, suggesting stability

The national mortgage delinquency rate declined during the first quarter of 2012, with 5.78 percent of borrowers more than 60 days past due, breaking a two-quarter streak of increases that marked the second half of 2011.

Before that, the delinquency rate dropped for six consecutive quarters, according to TransUnion. Even with that streak, however, this new decline brought about the lowest rate experienced since the beginning of 2009. Only eight states did not post falling quarterly delinquency rates, though more than 25 percent of metropolitan statistical areas experienced stable or increasing delinquencies.

TransUnion executive Tim Martin suggested this could be the beginning of a consistent quarterly improvement, which could herald a more speedy turnaround for the real estate industry as whole. While this may mean fewer new potential customers for single-family home rentals, it also suggests that fewer distressed properties will be added to the market, which could have a stabilizing effect on prices.

Management companies operating single-family housing and owners invested in such properties may find some economic pressures begin to ease. In the meantime, their properties may continue to appeal Americans who wish to rent without sacrificing the benefits of single-family homes.