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In two of the four states hit hardest by the housing bust, things aren’t looking quite so bleak anymore:

Fueled by major improvements in California and Arizona, the percentage of homeowners nationwide who were behind on their mortgage payments dropped significantly in the third quarter from the same period last year, according to credit reporting company TransUnion.

The national mortgage delinquency rate – the percentage of borrowers 60 days or more late on their payments – fell to 5.41% in the three months ended in September from 5.88%, TransUnion said Tuesday. . . .

California and Arizona, two of the states hardest hit by the collapse of the housing bubble, showed the best year-over-year improvement. Arizona’s delinquency rate fell nearly 25% to 5.62% from last year’s third-quarter rate of 7.46%. California’s rate dropped almost 24% to 5.56% from 7.29%.

Overall, 42 states showed a drop in delinquency rates. Just two states continue to have double-digit delinquency rates: Florida at 13.09% and Nevada at 10.93%. But both improved from a year earlier. [Emph. added.]

So in a housing market that appears to be broadly recovering, DQs in Arizona and California are only slightly above the national average. I doubt anyone seriously thought they’d bounce back this fast. A large-scale influx of investor money has boosted sales and prices in booth markets in a very major way. Nevada and Florida need to get with the program. . . .