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MORTGAGE DELINQUENCIES JUMP SHARPLY

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The delinquency rate for home mortgages jumped sharply to the highest level in more than two years in the July-September quarter, a trade association reports.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America said 5.00 percent of mortgage payments for one-to-four family residences were 30 or more days late, up from a second-quarter rate of 4.52 percent, a 10-year low.It was the highest delinquency rate since the second quarter of 1987, when 5.02 percent of mortgages were past due.

A jump in late mortgage payments often reflects economic difficulties among consumers, but Warren Lasko, Mortgage Bankers executive vice president, said the association found no ready explanation for the increase.

Although economic growth has slowed, the unemployment rate has remained relatively stable, close to 15-year lows, and Americans' disposable personal income grew during the period, he said.