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Mortgage delinquency rates signal improving economy

CoreLogic report reviews foreclosure crisis

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By looking back at the years before and during the most recent foreclosure crisis, CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, shows just how much the economy improved, and in what direction it is headed.

CoreLogic’s 10-year retrospect of the residential foreclosure crisis, United States Residential Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later, examines the path of the crisis beginning with the relatively healthy years early in the 2000s, through the peak of the crisis, to present day.

While foreclosures are still above pre-crisis levels, the report shows the country started to normalize with 22,000 completed foreclosures, homes lost to foreclosure, per month.

One of the leading indicators of troubled markets is the number of homes in serious delinquency, defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure and real estate owned. At the end of 2016, about 1 million mortgages or 2.6% of homes with a mortgage were in serious delinquencies. This is compared to 3.7 million mortgages or 8.6% of homes with a mortgage in January 2010.

In recent years, the decline in serious delinquencies has been geographically broad throughout the country with year-over-year decreases from December 2015 to December 2016 in 48 states and the District of Columbia, a positive sign for economic growth.

But what’s more, CoreLogic explains a healthy economy is driven heavily by its jobs market.

“The country experienced a wild ride in the mortgage market between 2008 and 2012, with the foreclosure peak occurring in 2010,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said.

“As we look back over 10 years of the foreclosure crisis, we cannot ignore the connection between jobs and homeownership,” Nothaft said. “A healthy economy is driven by jobs coupled with consumer confidence that usually leads to homeownership.”

There is no doubt that the economy is experiencing unusually high levels of consumer confidence, but there is much more debate over the state of the jobs market. Some experts argued that the most recent employment report showed weakness with its paltry wage increase, while others insisted there was little wrong with the report, and that the wage growth that did occur is a positive sign for the economy.

Either way, it is clear the foreclosure market improved significantly from its peak years. At the end of 2016, the national foreclosure inventory, which reflects all homes at some stage of the foreclosure process, stood at 336,000 or 0.9% of all homes with a mortgage. This is compared to 1.4 million homes or 3.3% at the peak of the foreclosure crisis in September 2010.

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