With green shoots emerging in the U.S. housing market, another encouraging sign arrived Tuesday in a new report from the American Bankers Association: delinquencies on second mortgages, which remain stubbornly high six years after the housing bubble burst, dropped in the fourth quarter.

The percentage of consumers who were late on paying their home equity loans fell to 4.03%, their lowest level in three quarters. For home equity lines of credit, delinquencies dropped to 1.93%, also lower than at any point since the first quarter of 2012.

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