Mortgage Delinquencies Register Lowest October Rate in 18 Years

January 15, 2019 by Paul Ausick

The share of home mortgage loan payments that are 30 days or more past due fell from 5.1% in October 2017 to 4.1% in October 2018, the lowest total for the month in 18 years. The foreclosure inventory rate fell from 0.6% to 0.5% in the same period.

The share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due was 0.8% in October 2018, down by 0.3 percentage points year over year. This year’s rate has moved significantly below the transition rate of 1.2% just before the housing crisis struck and well below the peak rate of 2.0% 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, declined from 2.3% to 1.9% year over year in October. The share of mortgages that were 60 to 89 days past due in October was 0.7%, down by 0.2 points compared with last year’s rate. According to CoreLogic, measuring early-stage delinquency rates is important for analyzing the health of the mortgage market.

Serious delinquency rates (defined as 90 days or more past due) fell in 49 states, and the reading in North Dakota was unchanged.

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

While the strong economy has helped families stay current and push overall delinquency rates lower, areas that were hit hard by natural disasters have seen a rise in loan defaults. The 30-day delinquency rate in the Panama City, Florida metro area tripled between September and October 2018 as a result of Hurricane Michael. Two months after Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas, 60-day delinquency rates doubled in the Jacksonville, Wilmington, New Bern and Myrtle Beach metro areas. And buffeted by Kilauea’s eruption in the Hawaiian Islands, serious delinquency rates jumped on the Big Island by 9 percent between June and October 2018, while falling by 4 percent in the rest of Hawaii.

Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, added:

Despite some regional spikes related to hurricane and fire-impacted areas, overall delinquency rates are near or at historic lows.

A total of 18 U.S. metro areas posted a year-over-year increase in overall delinquency rate, and seven of those cities were located in either North or South Carolina. Both states were hit hard last year by Hurricane Florence.