More homeowners paid their mortgages on time in the thirdquarter of 2014 compared to the third quarter of 2013, according tothe national consumer data firm TransUnion.

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TransUnion reported in its latest mortgage report thepercentage of borrowers at least 60 days late fell for the 11thstraight quarter to 3.36% as of Sept. 30. The mortgage delinquencyrate has declined nearly 17% in the last year (down from 4.03% inQ3 2013), the firm said.

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Some of the nation's largest markets saw the biggest drops,TransUnion said.

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Between Q3 2013 and Q3 2014, Miami (-31.6%), San Francisco(-28.6%), Phoenix (-27.1%) and Los Angeles (-24.2%) experiencedmajor improvements in delinquency. Of the largest markets, only twodid not have double-digit declines: New York (9.9%) andPhiladelphia (-9.4%), TransUnion added.

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“While mortgage delinquency rates remain elevated relative tohistoric norms, they are steadily improving,” Joe Mellman, vicepresident of mortgage in TransUnion's financial services businessunit said. “New mortgage cohorts over the past several years havebeen squeaky clean from a risk perspective. This fact, combinedwith the continuing clearance of the foreclosure backlog and thegradual but steady rise in home values, serves to drive the ongoingtrend toward lower mortgage delinquency rates overall.”

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TransUnion pointed out that mortgage delinquency rates for LosAngeles (2.53%) and Phoenix (2.47%) are now nearly one fullpercentage point below the national average of 3.36%.

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This is remarkable, Transunion observed, because for much of2009 and 2010 those areas had delinquency rates that exceeded 10%,whereas the national average never breached the 7% mark.

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“It's especially heartening to see major declines in areas thatwere hardest hit by the mortgage crisis,” Mellman continued. “Inpart, it speaks to the broader rebound in the economy. Asunemployment continues its decline and home values improve,consumers have both greater wherewithal and motivation to staycurrent on their housing payments.”

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TransUnion added that on a quarterly basis, all 50 states andthe District of Columbia experienced declines in their mortgagedelinquency rates between Q3 2013 and Q3 2014. Nevada (-29.0%),Florida (-28.8%) and California (-26.5%) saw the biggestdeclines.

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“This is another positive as declines are occurring nationwideand not only in isolated geographic pockets,” Mellmansaid.

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