Mortgage delinquencies are continuing to fall, hitting a new low in the second quarter, a report from TransUnion, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies in the U.S., showed.
This confirms Tuesday’s report from S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian, which showed the average mortgage default rate hit its lowest level in a decade. Experian is also one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agency, explaining the similar findings in both reports.
TransUnion’s report showed mortgage delinquency rates dropped below 2% for the first time in nearly 10 years as it hit 1.93% in the second quarter. This is down 16.5% from the second quarter of 2016 when it decreased to 2.3%.
“In the second quarter, we hit a new milestone for mortgage delinquencies as the rate dropped below 2%,” said Joe Mellman, TransUnion senior vice president and mortgage business leader.
“Because delinquency rates reached 7% in the recession, mortgage delinquency has taken longer to recover,” Mellman said. “We’re now at the lowest delinquency levels in nearly a decade, and we anticipate those levels will remain low through the rest of this year.”
One quarter before, mortgage originations increased slightly in the first quarter from 1.46 million in the first quarter of 2016 to 1.49 million. But while this was up annually, it represents a decrease of 28.3% from the fourth quarter. The previous year, originations declined just 9.4% from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016.
TransUnion explained interest rates, with have been trending higher since the start of 2017, are largely to blame for the sudden quarterly drop in originations.
A recent study from the Urban Institute showed originations will continue to drop as interest rates increase.
The average new account balance decreased 1.6% to $219,743 in the first quarter, down from $223,262 in the first quarter of 2016.
“Average new account balances tend to be larger for refinance transactions as opposed to purchase transactions, because consumers with higher loan amounts can realize greater benefits from lowering interest rates and/or loan term extension,” Mellman said. “As interest rates rise, refi activity declines. This year, we have observed that reduction, leading to lower average new account balances.”