The March delinquency rate dropped 12% month-over-month, the largest monthly decline in nine years, but at the same time foreclosure starts skyrocketed 18% in March, according to the Black Knight Financial Services report for March.
Foreclosure starts were up 18% from February. Approximately 94,100 foreclosures were started in March, a roughly 7% increase from last year.
March didn't see quite as many foreclosure starts as there were in January when there were 94,400, but it was the second highest number of starts since the end of 2013, which was 105,000.
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(Source: Black Knight)
The foreclosure rate continues its long-term trend of improvement, down over 27% from this time last year.
The drop in the monthly delinquencies helped to drive delinquencies below 5% for the first time since August 2007.
Prepayment speeds (historically a good indicator of refinance activity) were up substantially. Prepayments rose 40% month-over-month.
Far more notable, prepayments were actually up 103% from this time last year.
Currently, 1.55% of active mortgages are in some stage of the foreclosure process, which is about 782,000 loans, the fewest since December 2007.