Home loan delinquencies increased in the first quarter, nudging up 13 basis points, to 4.47% of all mortgages, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Friday.

It was the fourth consecutive quarterly increase.

Paul Reid, executive vice president of the trade group, said late payments will probably continue to creep upward but will remain "relatively low by historical standards." He attributed the increase to the upward adjustment of interest rates on variable-rate loans and more lending by mortgage bankers to homebuyers with troubled credit histories.

The share of loans that were 30 days overdue increased by 11 basis points, to 3.14%. The two more serious categories-60 days and 90 days or more past due-grew 1 basis point each, to 0.71% and 0.62%, respectively.

Delinquencies rose for both conventional and government-insured loans. A record 8.35% of FHA-insured loans were being paid late, up 8 basis points from the fourth quarter. Of conventional loans, 2.91% were delinquent, up 4 basis points, and 7.22% of loans backed by the Veterans Administration were delinquent, up 19 basis points.

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