Nationwide's latest Health of Housing Markets Report reveals that serious delinquency rates in most of the metropolitan statistical areas are headed down. Thanks to this downward trend, these rates are nearing their pre-bust levels and this improvement in the mortgage market is a sign that housing should remain a strength in the U.S.

The movement of serious delinquency rates is a strong indicator of the health of the housing market for buyers, sellers, and builders. Nationwide Chief Economist and Senior Vice President discussed these positive signs:

"The drop in serious mortgage delinquency rates supports sustainable home price gains and housing activity. The more sustainable housing markets should allow for positive feedback loops in local economies, with strengthening job and income gains for residential real estate agents, mortgage bankers and home improvement workers."