The commercial mortgage default rate on loans held by U.S. banks more than doubled to 3.4% in the third quarter as vacancies rose and rents declined, Real Estate Econometrics LLC said.

Defaults climbed from 1.37% a year earlier and from 2.88% in the second quarter, the property research firm in New York said Tuesday in a report. Default rates in the first three quarters of 2009 have been the highest since 1993, the firm said.

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