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Mortgage

Mortgage delinquencies nearly double in April on COVID-19 shock

About 3.6 million borrowers were past due in a tally that includes forbearances

Mortgage delinquencies almost doubled in April as out-of-work Americans struggled to pay their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. delinquency rate rose to 6.45% from 3.39% in March, the largest monthly increase ever recorded, Black Knight said in a report on Thursday. It was almost triple the previous record gain in 2008, near the beginning of the financial crisis.

About 3.6 million homeowners were past due on their mortgages at the end of April, the most since January 2015, Black Knight said. The number jumped 1.6 million in a tally that counts forbearances as delinquent if the borrower didn’t make an April payment.

About 8.8% of U.S. mortgages are in forbearance, Black Knight said in a report last week. The pace of new forbearances requests has slowed to about 27,000 a day, down 85% from April, the mortgage-data firm said.

The U.S. unemployment rate spiked to a record high of 14.7% in April, more than tripling from March, after states shuttered businesses in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. It surpassed the highest rate of the financial crisis, which peaked at 10% in October 2009, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nevada was the state with the biggest increase in mortgage delinquencies during April, climbing 5.2%. New Jersey was next, with a 5.1% gain, followed by New York, up 4.9%.

Measured by metropolitan areas, Miami had the largest gain, up 7.2%, followed by Las Vegas, with a 6.2% increase, and New York, with a gain of 5.4%.

Both foreclosure starts and foreclosure sales hit record lows in April as moratoriums halted foreclosure activity across the country, Black Knight said.

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