Rising Home Prices Keep Foreclosure Rates at Multi-Decade Lows

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The share of home mortgage loan payments that are 30 days or more past due fell to 3.6% in April, its lowest level in more than 20 years. Month over month, the overall delinquency rate fell by 0.4 percentage points and declined by 0.7 points since April 2018. The foreclosure inventory rate fell from 0.5% to 0.4% year over year, its lowest for the month in at least 20 years.

The foreclosure rate remains below the average pre-crisis level of 0.6% as rising home values have driven homeowners’ equity to record levels, according to CoreLogic. As owner equity rises, the risk of foreclosure falls.

CoreLogic reported the data in its Loan Performance Insights report for April. Early-stage delinquencies, defined as 30 to 59 days past due, decreased from 1.8% to 1.7% year over year in April. The share of mortgages that were 60 to 89 days past due in April was 0.6%, unchanged compared with last year’s rate. According to CoreLogic, measuring early-stage delinquency rates is important for analyzing the health of the mortgage market.

The share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due was 0.7% in April 2019, down 0.1 points compared to a year ago. This year’s rate remains below the transition rate of 1.2% just before the housing crisis struck and well below the peak rate of 2% in November 2008.

Serious delinquency rates (defined as 90 days or more past due) fell from 1.9% in April 2018 to 1.3% this past April, below the average for the pre-crisis period of 2000 through 2006. Serious delinquency rates declined in all 50 states during the month.

CoreLogic’s chief economist, Dr. Frank Nothaft, said, “Thanks to a 50-year low in unemployment, rising home prices and responsible underwriting, the U.S. overall delinquency rate is the lowest in more than 20 years. However, a number of metros that suffered a natural disaster or economic decline contradict this national trend.”

Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, added, “The U.S. has experienced 16 consecutive months of falling overall delinquency rates, but it has not been a steady decline across all areas of the country. Recent flooding in the Midwest could elevate delinquency rates in hard-hit areas, similar to what we see after a hurricane.”

Mortgage rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan remained flat at 3.95% on Monday as yields on the 10-year Treasury note dipped slightly to 2.09%.

Among the nation’s largest cities, New York and Miami have the highest rate of mortgages at least 30 days past due at around 5%. San Francisco had the lowest rate, 1.3%.

The states with the highest rates of mortgages at least 30 days past due are Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, Alabama and West Virginia, all with rates well above the national average of around 3.6%. The states with the lowest rates of mortgages at least 30 days past due are North Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Colorado, all with rates of around 2% or below.

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