Late-payment rate on mortgages declined in 3Q

LOS ANGELES (AP) - U.S. homeowners are doing a better job of keeping up with their mortgage payments.

Credit reporting agency TransUnion says that the percentage of mortgage holders at least two months behind on their payments fell in the third quarter to 5.41 percent.

That's down nearly 8 percent from 5.88 percent in the third quarter last year and represents the lowest point since the first quarter of 2009.

Still, the rate remains well above the 1 percent to 2 percent average historical range, an indication that many homeowners still are struggling to make their payments.

Even so, some homeowners are benefiting from the gradual turnaround in housing this year.

Home prices are rising and interest rates remain near historic lows, making it easier for borrowers to refinance and lower their payments.

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