A growing percentage of troubled borrowers in Freddie Mac's prime loan portfolio said excessive debt was one of the primary reasons they had problems making mortgage payments in 2006. Unemployment or loss of income was still the most often cited cause of delinquency among Freddie Mac borrowers in 2006, with 36.3 percent reporting such problems. That's down from 42.8 percent from 2001 to 2005, reflecting recent increases in payroll jobs, Freddie Mac said. The number of delinquent borrowers citing excessive obligations rose to 13.6 percent in 2006, up from 11.1 percent from 2001 to 2005. Freddie Mac said rising health care costs and personal debt were factors in the increase. The percentage of Freddie Mac-owned single-family loans that were 90 days or more delinquent or in foreclosure actually declined from .69 percent at the end of 2005 to .53 percent at the end of 2006, where they remain. Nationally, the rate of serious delinquencies (90 days or more) among prime loans stood at .86 per...
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