Late Mortgage Payments Fall In 1st Quarter

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A new report shows the percentage of U.S. homeowners behind on their mortgage payments dropped in the first three months of this year to the lowest level since 2009.

Credit reporting agency TransUnion said 5.78 percent of the nation's mortgage holders were behind on their payments by 60 days or more in the January-to-March quarter.

That's down from 6.19 percent in the same period last year, and below the 6.01 percent delinquency rate in the last three months of 2011.

Even so, the rate remains well above 2 percent, which is where it stood before the housing bust.

TransUnion's vice president for U.S. housing predicts the rate will continue easing this year, barring any severe shocks to the economy.