The percentage of mortgages in Texas that are seriously delinquent has fallen since 1989, according to a study released by Mortgage Information Corp.

The state now looks better than the nation as a whole when it comes to conventional loans that are overdue by 90 days or more. At midyear Texas was one fifth below the national average in delinquencies on fixed-rate loans and two fifths on adjustables.

At midyear Texas was running at only four fifths the national rate in fixed-rate delinquencies, and at only two fifths on adjustables.

According to the study, employment growth and a diversified economy were the main factors contributing to the performance.

Texas gained more than a quarter of a million jobs between March 1994 and March 1995, more than any other state in the nation, according to figures released by the Texas comptroller's office. Tourism, high- technology, finance, insurance, and real estate businesses stepped in to fill employment gaps left behind by the oil and gas industry.

"The change (in mortgage rate figures) is most evident as we see diversification of the economy." says Ian Wong, marketing manager for Mortgage Information Corp. "As Texas continues to diversify, it should be a booming place."

But lenders should beware - mortgage-payment track records vary by location and year of origination.

Austin, with low business costs and an 8% annual housing appreciation rate over the past four years, is one of the healthiest prospects for mortgage growth. The city's 0.21% of seriously delinquent loans is the lowest in the state.

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