Mortgage delinquency rate jumps with forbearances tallied as overdue

Late payments rose 59 basis points from a record low in the fourth quarter, MBA says

The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate jumped during the first quarter in a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association that counts forbearances as late payments.

The share of home loans overdue by 30 days or more rose to 4.36% of all mortgages, up 59 basis points from an all-time low in the fourth quarter, MBA said in a Tuesday report.

Counting forbearances as late payments is bound to be controversial because Congress mandated in the CARES Act that servicers report pandemic-related forbearances as being “current” to the nation’s credit bureaus. The law, however, did not preclude servicers from notifying credit bureaus that a loan is in forbearance, and it did not cover how industry statistics would be reported.

“MBA’s survey asks servicers to report these loans as delinquent if the payment was not made based on the original terms of the mortgage – in the same manner that delinquency data is collected during natural disasters,” the report said.

So, while borrowers in forbearance have received permission from their mortgage servicers to suspend payments, the accounts are still being tallied as late.

The delinquency rate in 2020’s first three months was below the 4.42% in the year-ago quarter, reflecting the timing of the pandemic. States began closing businesses and issuing stay-at-home orders in mid-March, in the final two weeks of the period, to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Broken out by loan type, the delinquency rate for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration rose by 113 basis points to 9.69%. The rate for loans backed by the Veterans Administration rate rose by 78 basis points to 4.65%, the MBA report said.

That compares to a delinquency rate of 3.16% for conventional loans, which could include Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, up from 2.82% in the fourth quarter.

Other measures in the report were down: The foreclosure inventory rate, meaning the share of loans for homes in the process of being seized, fell to 0.73%, the lowest level since 1984. Foreclosure starts fell to 0.19%, down 2 basis points from the previous quarter.

Mortgage statistics track the performance of the labor market since most people need a job to pay the bills, said Marina Walsh, MBA’s vice president of industry analysis. The U.S. unemployment rate spiked to an all-time high of 14.7% last month, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

“With unemployment rising from historical lows in early 2020 to a record 14.7% in April, it is inevitable that mortgage delinquencies would increase as well,” Walsh said. “With signs of economic distress continuing into the second quarter, mortgage delinquencies will likely further increase.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular Articles

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please