With interest rates low, close to all time lows, the mortgage default levels are near all-time highs? You just know something is hideously wrong with the economy.

What is it?

Residential Mortgage Delinquencies measure delinquency percentages for residential real estate loans secured by one- to four-family properties. It includes home-equity lines of credit.

Delinquent loans represent those loans that are past due 30 days or more and are still accruing interest, as well as loans in non-accrual status.

Why is it important?

We believe a higher than average mortgage delinquency rate is a key factor in the continuing housing crisis and also as it relates to the broader economy.

How do we interpret it?

Rising delinquency rates are an after-the-fact reflection of challenging economic climates.

Since mortgage payments are less discretionary than general consumer expenditures, increases in this indicator are more likely to occur during times of economic difficulty.

Typical historical range

As of December 2011, 90% of observations for the mortgage delinquency rates

fall between 1.47% to 10.30%.