CoreLogic: Lowest Delinquency Rates in 11 Years

CoreLogic, Irvine, Calif., said just 4.3 percent of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure) in March, down by 0.1 percent from a year ago.

The company’s monthly Loan Performance Insights Report also noted the nation’s foreclosure inventory rate fell to 0.6 percent in March, down by 0.2 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since March 2007.

The report said the rate for early-stage delinquencies–defined as 30 to 59 days past due–stood at 1.7 percent in March, unchanged from a year ago. The share of mortgages 60-89 days past due in March was 0.6 percent, also unchanged from a year ago. The serious delinquency rate, defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure, fell to 1.9 percent in March, down from 2.1 percent a year ago. The March serious delinquency rate was the lowest for that month since 2007 when it was 1.5 percent.

“Unemployment and lack of home equity are two factors that can lead to borrowers defaulting on their mortgages,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Unemployment is at the lowest level in 18 years, and for the first quarter, the CoreLogic Equity Report revealed record levels of home equity growth with equity per owner up $16,300 on average for the year ending March 2018.”

The report said the share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due rose to 0.7 percent in March, up from 0.6 percent a year ago. By comparison, in January 2007, just before the start of the financial crisis, the current- to 30-day transition rate was 1.2 percent, while it peaked in November 2008 at 2 percent.

“As we enter the summer, the risk of hurricane and wildfire damage to homes increases as does the risk of damage-related loan default,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Last year’s hurricanes and wildfires continue to affect today’s default rates. Serious delinquency rates are more than double what they were before last autumn’s hurricanes in Houston, Texas, and Naples, Fla. The serious delinquency rates have also quadrupled in Puerto Rico.”