The latest data from Lender Processing Services Inc. (NYSE: LPS) shows that the total U.S. mortgage loan delinquency rate has fallen from 6.21% in April to 6.08% in May, and that mortgages in foreclosure have fallen from 4.12% to 3.05%. A total of 4.469 million mortgages — 9.13% — are now delinquent or in foreclosure proceedings, down from 5.605 million in May of 2012.
The percentage of loans with negative equity (underwater mortgages) has now dropped below 15% nationwide, according to LPS. That is a decline of nearly 50% since May of 2012. Home price increases get most of the credit for this improvement, and a large share of the credit for the sharp decline in new problem loans.
An LPS executive noted:
Though they are still approximately 1.4 times what they were, on average, during the 1995 to 2005 period, delinquencies have come down significantly from their January 2010 peak. In large part, this is due to the continuing decline in new problem loans — as fewer problem loans are coming into the system, the existing inventories are working their way through the pipeline.
As we’ve noted before, negative equity appears to still be one of the strongest drivers of new problem loans, and — primarily buoyed by home price increases nationwide — that situation also continues to improve.
The number of new problem loans continues to slide, now down to just 0.73%, which is about equal to the rate in 2005 and 2006 and is closing in on the annual average of 0.55% for the period between 2000 and 2004. Foreclosures are down 27% year-over-year in May, and the month-over-month foreclosure presale inventory rate fell by 3.9%.
The states with highest percentage of noncurrent loans are Florida (16.5%), New Jersey (14.8%), Mississippi (14.3%), Nevada (12.5%) and New York (12.3%). The states with the lowest percentage of noncurrent loans are Montana (4.3%), Alaska (4.3%), Wyoming (4.3%), South Dakota (3.8%) and North Dakota (2.9%).