The number of consumers who "rolled" their mortgage-delinquency status peaked in July of last year, as housing prices slid and unemployment increased, according to a study by the consumer rating agency TransUnion.

Rolling the delinquency status involves moving from the category of 30 to 60 days behind into the 60-to-90-days-behind category. About 24% of consumers who were 30 days past due on their mortgages in June 2009 rolled to 60 days past due in July 2009, TransUnion said. During the same time period, 38% of those who were 60 days past due became 90 days past due.

The peak period for delinquency rollovers came just shortly after the point at which the National Bureau of Economic Research said the U.S. officially exited the recession, which TransUnion called a "clear illustration" of how credit dynamics can lag economic ones.

"As we entered recovery economically, from a credit perspective we were just hitting the toughest period for consumer default," said F.J. Guarrera, a vice president in TransUnion's financial services unit. "Unemployment and home-value depreciation were the two primary drivers of mortgage delinquency over the past three years, impacting both the ability and willingness of consumers to pay their monthly mortgage debt service."

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