Western Australia tops the list of Standard & Poor’s Performance Index in terms of the number of home loans in arrears during the first quarter of 2016. Its percentage of prime mortgages more than 30 days in arrears increased to 1.13 per cent in the March quarter, up by more than seven per cent from the same period a year ago.

“At 1.13 per cent, however, the percentage of mortgages in arrears is relatively low and remains well below the historical peak of 1.69 per cent in 2012,” S&P said.

Loan arrears also increased in every state and territory during the March quarter. WA also recorded the highest percentage at 1.77 per cent, followed by Tasmania at 1.5 per cent and Queensland at 1.42 per cent.

These high arrears levels partly reflect the tougher economic conditions that these states face, according to S&P.

“Queensland and Tasmania have seen rises in unemployment, and Western Australia is dealing with the ongoing effects of a slowdown in mining investment,” said the credit ratings agency. “New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory continued to have the nation’s lowest levels of mortgage stress in Q1, with both below one per cent.”