There is a growing gap between the credit quality of adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages, according to Moody's latest mortgage credit index.

Delinquency rates for fixed-rate loans have eased since early 1994, while foreclosure and real-estate-owned rates - a measure of property acquired by a lender because of foreclosure - have held steady.

But delinquencies, foreclosure, and real-estate-owned rates for adjustable rate mortgages have all risen modestly during the same time period. Those figures may be another crack in the foundation of household finances and a sign of consumer overleveraging.

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