Mortgage Delinquencies Decline in January; Still High in Hurricane-Hit Areas

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The share of home mortgage loan payments that are 30 days or more past due fell from 5.1% in January 2017 to 4.9% in January 2018. The foreclosure inventory rate fell from 0.8% to 0.6% in the same period.

The share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due was 0.8% in January 2018, down from 0.9% in January 2017. This year’s rate is slightly lower than the transition rate of 1.2% just before the housing crisis struck and well below the peak rate of 2% in November 2008.

The data were reported Tuesday by CoreLogic in its Loan Performance Insights report. Early-stage delinquencies, defined as 30 to 59 days past due, decreased by 0.1 percentage point year over year in January 2018 to 2%. The share of mortgages that were 60 to 89 days past due in January 2018 was 0.8%, an increase of 0.1 point compared with last year’s rate.

According to CoreLogic, measuring early-stage delinquency rates is important for analyzing the health of the mortgage market.

CoreLogic’s chief economist, Dr. Frank Nothaft, said:

The areas hit by last year’s hurricanes and wildfires are experiencing the “pig in a python” effect on their local delinquency rates. Early-stage delinquencies have largely dropped back to normal, while serious delinquency remains elevated. In hard-hit markets, like Houston and Naples metro areas, serious delinquency is triple what it was before the hurricanes. And in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico, serious delinquency has quadrupled.

Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, added:

Except for the metropolitan areas affected by natural disasters, most of the country has seen delinquency and foreclosure rates move lower over the past year. Declines in the unemployment rate have supported a rise in income, and home-price growth has build home equity. These two economic forces coupled with high-quality underwriting have lowered overall delinquency rates.

The states with the lowest 30-plus delinquency rate in January 2018 were Colorado (2.0%), North Dakota (2.1%) and Oregon (2.4%). The 30-plus delinquency rate was highest in Mississippi (8.8%) and Florida (8.4%).

Among the 10 largest U.S. metro areas, the highest 30-plus delinquency rates in January were posted in Miami (10.6%) and Houston (9.1%). Among these same metro areas, the lowest rate was reported in San Francisco (1.6%). Denver also posted a sub-2% rate in the month.

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