MortgageReal Estate

Foreclosure rate falls to near 20-year low

Rising equity levels push foreclosure rates down

The share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process fell to 0.4% in December, tying with the previous month for the lowest rate since January 2000, according to the latest report from CoreLogic.

Nationally, 4.1% of all mortgages were in some stage of delinquency, the report showed, meaning that their mortgage payments were at least 30 days past due. This represents a 1.2% decline from the same time last year, when 5.3% of mortgages were delinquent.

Early-stage delinquencies, defined as mortgages that are 30-59 days past due, also fell year over year, down 2% from 2.4% in December 2017. CoreLogic called early-stage delinquencies an important indicator of the mortgage market’s overall health.

Delinquencies in the 60- to 89-day range fell year over year from 0.7% to 0.8%, while serious delinquencies, or those past due by more than 90 days, were down from 2.1% to 1.5%.

Serious delinquencies have hovered around 1.5% since August, remaining at a low not seen since March 2007.

CoreLogic said the overall delinquency rate has fallen steadily since the beginning of 2018 to pre-crisis levels not seen since early 2006.

That said, several areas in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina that are still recovering from natural disasters have seen increases in delinquencies.

“Our latest home equity report found that the average homeowner saw a $9,700 increase in their equity during 2018,” said CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft. “With additional ‘skin in the game,’ rising equity reduces the chances of a foreclosure, helping to push the foreclosure rate down to its lowest level since at least 2000.”

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