A couple paying their mortgage (Credit: iStock)

It’s a real estate and social barometer that doesn’t get a lot of publicity, but it’s important: More Americans are paying their mortgages on time today than they have in nearly two decades — maybe even longer.

That’s a big deal, because when large numbers of owners do the opposite — stop paying on their home loans for months at a time — the entire economy feels the effects. Spiking delinquencies in 2007-2008 ushered in the global financial crisis and spawned tidal waves of foreclosures that devastated borrowers and their communities. Some

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