Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosure rates in the U.S. dropped to their lowest level for may in the past 12 years, according to the latest Loan Performance Insights report from CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.
Across the U.S., about 4.2% of mortgage were in some stage of delinquency, 30 days or more past due including those in foreclosure, in May. That is a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from the year before, according to the report.
The foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, also decreased, falling 0.2 percentage points from May 2017 to just 0.5% in May this year. This represents the lowest inventory rate for any month since September 2006.
In order to measure the health of the mortgage market, CoreLogic monitors early stage delinquencies, or those 30 to 59 days past due. The company found these delinquencies slipped from 1.9% of all mortgages in May 2017 to 1.8% in May this year.
The share of mortgages that were 60 to 89 days past due remained unchanged at 0.6% in May, while the serious delinquency rate, or those 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure, decreased to 1.8% in May, down from 2% the year before.
However, CoreLogic pointed out some areas facing natural disasters could soon see an uptick in their foreclosure or delinquency rates.
“While the strong economy has nudged serious delinquency rates to their lowest level in 12 years, areas hit by natural disasters have had increases,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. “The tragic wildfires in the West will likely lead to a spike in delinquencies in hard-hit neighborhoods.”
“As an example, the wildfire in Santa Rosa last year destroyed or severely damaged more than 5,000 homes,” Nothaft said. “Delinquency rates rose in the aftermath, and in the ensuing months we observed home-price growth accelerate and sales decline. We will likely see the same scenario unfold in fire-ravaged communities this year.”
Currently, in addition to the growing death toll, the wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes, totally about $11.15 billion in residential property, according to an analysis from Zillow.
According to a recent Carr Fire analysis by CoreLogic, the 2018 season is outpacing 2017 with more than 292,000 acres burned this year so far. Homeowners impacted by the Carr Fire outside the California city of Redding and the French Gulch community saw the greatest risk as CoreLogic estimated a total of $3.5 billion potential reconstruction costs in that area.
In fact, even as the rest of the U.S. sees improvements in delinquency rates, delinquencies still increased in two states most affected by last year’s natural disasters.
“Serious delinquency rates continue to remain lower than a year earlier except in Florida and Texas, the hardest-hit states during last year's hurricane season,” CoreLogic President and CEO Frank Martell said.
“We have observed continued challenges for families to make mortgage payments in regions impacted during the 2017 hurricane season,” Martell said. “For the coming months, we will monitor mortgage and housing trends in areas now plagued by wildfires, particularly in California, Montana and Arizona.”