WASHINGTON - Default rates in the tax-exempt municipal market are on pace to jump significantly this year, particularly in the housing sector which has been hit by the credit crunch, according to statistics compiled by a newsletter based in Miami Lakes, Fla.

Through May, 89 muni bond issues totaling $1.6 billion defaulted, compared to just 21 issues totaling $263.7 million in all of 2007, according to Distressed Debt Securities, which tracks corporate and muni defaults.

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