More Americans are paying their mortgages on time than at any point in nearly two decades, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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Delinquency rates are a key economic measure, closely watched by economists. The last time a large number of homeowners stopped making mortgage payments on time, from 2007 to 2008, it impacted the entire economy.

Borrowers who have conventional mortgages are the most likely to pay on time, while borrowers with loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration tend to pay late nearly three times more often. (Still, 91 percent of FHA borrowers pay on time.) FHA borrowers tend to have lower credit scores, higher debt-to-income ratios, and lower down payments. All three factors multiply the risk that borrowers will pay late, according to the MBA. But the FHA delinquency rate of 8.65 percent is still a big improvement over a decade ago, when…