Hurricane impact lessens as mortgage delinquencies drop

But delinquencies still up in Texas and Florida

As the impact from last year’s turbulent hurricane season fades, mortgage delinquencies once again began to decline in November, according to the latest Loan Performance Insights Report from CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.

During November, about 5.1% of all U.S. mortgages were in some stage of delinquency, or 30 days or more past due including those in foreclosure, the report showed. This represents a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the year before, when the delinquency rate was 5.2%.

But while delinquencies may be down overall, serious delinquencies are still up, especially in Texas and Florida.

“The effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria appear clearly in our mortgage delinquency report,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. “Serious delinquency rates are up sharply in Texas and Florida compared with a year ago, while lower in all other states except Alaska.”

“In Puerto Rico, the serious delinquency rate jumped to 6.3% in November, up 2.7 percentage points compared with a year before,” Nothaft said. “In the Miami metropolitan area, serious delinquency was up more than one-third from one year earlier to 5.1%, and it more than doubled to 4.6% in the Houston area.”

The rate of foreclosure inventory, which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, also decreased to 0.6% in November, falling 0.2 percentage points from 0.8% in November 2016. This rate of 0.6%, which, aside from the bump after the hurricanes, held steady since August 2017, and is the lowest level since June 2007.

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.

Early stage delinquencies, or those that are 30 to 59 days past due, decreased 0.1 percentage points to 2.2% in November. This is down from 2.3% in October, but unchanged from November 2016.

But the share of mortgages that were 60 to 89 days past due, while unchanged from October at 0.9%, increased 0.7% from the year before. The serious delinquency rate, or loans that are 90 days or more past due, also decreased, rising 1.9% from October to 2% in November. However, this represents a decrease from 2.3% in November 2016.

“Transition rates for 60-day and 90-day delinquency, while stable across most of the country, were up sharply in many areas impacted by the 2017 hurricanes,” CoreLogic President and CEO Frank Martell said. “In many of the harder-hit regions, such as the Houston and Miami metropolitan areas, housing stock availability has taken a hit as many homes were damaged and are no longer habitable. As a result, we expect to see further upward pressure on prices and rents for habitable homes, which will continue to erode affordability.”

But the housing market continues to recover after the storms as delinquencies decrease and homeowners even continue to build equity.

The number of underwater homes shrank in the fourth quarter of 2017, despite the turbulent hurricane season, according to the 2017 U.S. Year-End Home Equity and Underwater analysis from ATTOM Data Solutions.

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