A new study from credit reporting agency TransUnion finds that more homeowners are focusing on paying their mortgages before credit cards.
Rising residential values have enabled some borrowers to shift focus as they build equity in their homes and allowed others to return to positive equity after years of owing more than the property value. Homeowners also are benefiting from the improving job market and greater access to credit cards.
"We are returning to the traditional trend as the forces in the marketplace that influence consumer payment preferences return to normal," explained TransUnion's Ezra Becker, who co-authored the study. Mortgages historically had a lower late-payment rate than credit cards before the financial crisis. By September 2008, however, 3.32 percent of mortgages were 30 days overdue -- slightly higher than the credit card delinquency rate of 3.29 percent.