The mortgage crisis is spreading from subprime borrowers to those with the best credit ratings but who chose adjustable-rate mortgages. Homeowners are paying higher interest rates and are unable to get out by selling their homes, which often are priced below what they owe. At the end of September, nearly 4% of prime mortgages were past due or in foreclosure, the highest since the Mortgage Bankers Association began tracking them a decade ago.

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