The national mortgage delinquency rate continued its downward trend in the third quarter, dropping to 4.09% compared to 5.33% during the same period a year ago.

The decline marked the seventh consecutive quarter in which the rate of borrowers behind on their home payments by 60 days or more has decreased, according to a quarterly report released Wednesday by TransUnion.

All 50 states and the District of the Columbia experienced year-to-year declines in mortgage delinquency rates, according to the report. Delinquency rates in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah fell by 30% or more.

"This isn't a sample data set," Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S Housing for TransUnion's financial services business unit, said in the company's Wednesday press release. "We looked at all 52 million installment-based mortgages in the U.S. and the trend is clear - the percentage of borrowers willing and able to make their mortgage payments continues to improve. The overall delinquency rate is still high relative to 'normal,' but a 23% year-over-year improvement is great news for homeowners and their lenders."

Mortgage delinquency rates are likely to fall even more in the fourth quarter, according to TransUnion's forecast. The company predicted that the national delinquency rate would dip below 4% by the end of the year.

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