The recession has forced many struggling families across the country to confront a difficult choice: pay off credit card bills or make mortgage payments.
Before the downturn, consumers overwhelmingly opted to stay current on their mortgages before tackling other nagging debts. This pattern, however, has changed. More consumers are choosing to pay credit card bills and let mortage payments run delinquent, according to TransUnion, a credit management company.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, 7.24 percent of homeowners were mortgage-delinquent and credit-card current. While that's down from 7.40 percent in the third quarter, it remains 72 percent higher than it was at the beginning of the Great Recession. Only 3.03 percent of consumers in TransUnion's report fell behind on credit card payments in favor of making mortgage payments in the last quarter of 2010, the lowest percentage on record.