Serious mortgage delinquency rate hits lowest point in a decade

Hurricanes continue to bring rates lower

Mortgage delinquencies decreased in September to their lowest levels in more than a decade, according to the latest monthly Loan Performance Insights Report from CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.

As of September, 5% of mortgages remained in some stage of delinquency, 30 days or more past due including those in foreclosure. This is down 0.2 percentage points from last year’s overall delinquency rate of 5.2%.

“While natural hazard risk was elevated in 2017, the economic fundamentals that drive mortgage credit performance are the best in two decades,” CoreLogic President and CEO Frank Martell said. “The combination of strong job growth, low unemployment rates, steady economic performance and prudent underwriting has led to continued improvement in mortgage performance heading into next year.”

The foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the share of mortgage in some stage of the foreclosure process, decreased from 0.8% in September 2016 to 0.6% in September 2017. This represents the lowest foreclosure rate since June 2007 when foreclosure inventory was also at 0.6%.

CoreLogic explained measuring early-stage delinquency rates is important for analyzing the health of the mortgage market. To monitor mortgage performance comprehensively, the company examines all stages of delinquency as well as transition rates, which indicate the percentage of mortgages moving from one stage of delinquency to the next.

The rate for early stage delinquencies, mortgages 30 to 59 days past due, increased 0.3 percentage points from last year to 2.4% of mortgages in September. The share of mortgages 60 to 89 days past due remained unchanged from last year at 0.7%.

“September's early-stage delinquency rate increased by 0.3% from a year ago, the largest increase since June 2009,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. “This does not reflect a deterioration in credit, but rather the impact of the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.”

“September's early-stage delinquency transition rate rose to 2.6% in Texas and it rose to 3.2% in Florida, which is higher than the 1% that's typical for both states,” Nothaft said. “Texas and Florida's early-stage delinquency transition rates in September are much lower than New Orleans in September 2005 when the transition rate reached 17.4% as a result of Hurricane Katrina.”

The serious delinquency rate, mortgages that are 90 days or more past due, decreased 0.4 percentage points from last year to 1.9% in September. This rate marks the lowest level for any month since October 2007’s 1.9%.

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