More people are paying their mortgages than last year, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Mortgage Metrics Report, First Quarter 2016.
The report showed that 94.9% of mortgages were current and performing at the end of the quarter, an increase from 94.2% last year.
The first-lien mortgages included in the report comprise 38% of all residential mortgages outstanding in the U.S. or about 21.1 million loans totaling $3.6 trillion in principal balances. The report provides information on their performance through March 31, 2016.
Foreclosure activity also declined from last year. Servicers initiated 58,921 foreclosures during the first quarter, a decrease of 29.1% from last year.
Many states are beginning to take action to clear their foreclosures inventory. Ohio recently passed legislation that seeks to prevent zombie homes, or vacant or abandoned residential property, by enacting a fast-track process for mortgage foreclosures.
And while the U.S. Senate could soon consider new rules governing the maintenance of foreclosed homes and the glut of “zombie homes” that blight many communities throughout the country, the state of New York is taking the matter into its own hands.
As first-lien mortgage performance improves, the need for other loss mitigation action declines. In fact, servicers implemented 34,481 mortgage modifications in the first quarter of 2016. Of those, 87% of the modifications reduced borrowers’ monthly payments.