Delinquencies for loans used to purchase time-share properties packaged into asset-backed securities were 15% lower year over year in the first quarter as monthly default rates remained steady, according to Fitch Ratings.

The decline is another sign that delinquencies of various types of consumer loans may have peaked. For example, Freddie Mac recently reported its first month-to-month decline among mortgages on single-family homes in more than three years.

"Though still above historical norms, U.S. time-share ABS delinquencies are slowly migrating back to pre-recession levels," Fitch director Brad Sohl said in a press release Friday.

Delinquencies for time-share loans also fell from the fourth quarter, as they typically do, Fitch said. The rate declined to 4.64%, from 4.89% at of the end of 2009 and 5.43% a year earlier.

Meanwhile, monthly defaults were at 0.83% in March, compared with 0.81% for the first quarter of 2009.

On an annual basis, defaults continue to breach historical peaks — they were 9.53% in March, versus 9.44% in December. The economy remains a challenge for U.S. time-share borrowers, Fitch said.

Last year a number of major hoteliers scaled back on their time-share businesses as the credit crisis and recession curbed demand for such discretionary items.

Such scaling back gives owners the right to spend a certain amount of time at a property or exchange it for the ability to stay elsewhere.

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