Delinquencies among commercial mortgages in securitized pools were 3.23% at the end of August, up from a low of 0.22% in mid-2007, according to Moody's Investors Service Inc.

The figure jumped from 0.5% a year earlier and July's 3.02%, Moody's said Monday.

On the bright side, the latest increase was less than the average monthly increase since March.

"Although the rate of increase has tapered off in the past six months, it is much too early to count on this trend continuing," said Nick Levidy, a managing director at Moody's. He warned the rate would resume an upward trend over the next several months.

The commercial real estate market had held up better than the residential real estate market until it began to deteriorate quickly at the end of 2008 as the U.S. recession deepened. Retail and hotel properties have been hit especially hard.

Multifamily delinquency rates continued to increase the most, to 5.51% from a low of 0.51% in August 2007, according to Moody's.

The delinquency rate for loans on retail properties grew 0.22%, to 3.41%, during the month. The previous peak was 0.89% in August 2003.

Moody's said delinquency rates were highest in the South, with delinquencies at 4.66%, up from July's 4.32%. The East was the only region with delinquencies below the national average — with a rate of 1.84%, up from 1.74% a month earlier.

Nevada and Michigan, which have been hurt by high unemployment and slumping real estate values, posted the highest delinquency rates with Nevada at 8.69% and Michigan at 8.55%. Those figures rose from 7.71% and 7.65% in July.

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