Mortgage delinquency rate reaches 23-year low

Just over 3% of mortgages were delinquent in January, according to CoreLogic

Mortgage delinquency rates in January reached a 23-year low, driven by the skyrocketing housing prices and a strong job market.

About 3.3% of mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days or more including foreclosure in January, according to a new CoreLogic loan performance insights report. The figure dropped 2.3 percentage points from 5.6% in January 2021 in the lowest delinquency rate since at least 1999. 

“The large rise in home prices — up 19% in January from one year earlier, according to CoreLogic indexes for the U.S. — has built home equity and is an important factor in the continuing low level of foreclosures,” Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a statement. 

An average of 562,000 jobs were added every month in the first quarter of this year, the same as the average monthly gain for 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the delinquency rate in January marked the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year declines, Nothaft expects to see an uptick in distressed sales this year as some homeowners struggle to remain current after forbearance and loan modification.

“There are many homeowners that faced financial hardships during the pandemic and are emerging from 18 months of forbearance,” Nothaft said. 

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The serious mortgage delinquency rate, defined as being 90 days or more past due including loans and forbearance, was 1.8% last month, down from January 2021’s rate of 3.8%.

All 50 states logged year-over-year declines in their overall delinquency rate. Louisiana had the highest rate of 3.8% last month, dropping 2.4 percentage points from January 2021. New York followed with a delinquency rate of 3.2% and Mississippi trailed with 3% in January this year. 

Data in this report accounts for only first liens against a property and rates are measured only against homes with an outstanding mortgage. CoreLogic has about 75% of U.S. foreclosure data. 

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