The latest data from Lender Processing Services Inc. (NYSE: LPS) shows that the total U.S. mortgage loan delinquency rate has fallen from 6.8% in February to 6.59% in March, and that mortgages in foreclosure have declined from 4.19% to 3.37%. A total of 4.997 million mortgages — 9.96% — are now delinquent or in foreclosure proceedings, down from 5.589 million in March of 2012.
In an even more encouraging development, the number of new problem loans has fallen below 1% for the first time in six years. Foreclosures fell 8.2% year-over-year in March, and the month-over-month foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate fell by 0.41%.
LPS noted that, as before, mortgages that are deeper underwater are far more likely to develop into problem loans. A company executive said:
Looking at the March data, we see that borrowers with equity are actually outperforming the national average — at 0.6 percent, this group is quite close to pre-crisis norms. The further underwater a borrower gets, the higher those problem rates rise. Borrowers with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of just 100-110 percent are actually defaulting at more than twice the national average. For those 50 percent or more underwater, we see new problem rates of 4 percent.
Still, the overall equity trend has been a very positive one. LPS’ latest data shows that the share of loans with LTVs greater than 100 percent has fallen 41 percent from a year ago. In total, there were approximately 9 million such loans, or about 18 percent of active mortgages.
The states with highest percentage of noncurrent loans are Florida, New Jersey, Mississippi, Nevada and New York. The states with the lowest percentage of noncurrent loans are Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota.
See the full press release from LPS.