CoreLogic: Foreclosure Inventories at 20-Year Low

CoreLogic, Irvine, Calif., said 4% of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure) in March, an 0.3 percentage point decline from a year ago to the lowest March rate in 13 years.

The company’s monthly Loan Performance Insights Report said the foreclosure inventory rate fell to 0.4%, down 0.2 percentage points from a year ago, marking the fifth consecutive month that the foreclosure inventory rate remained at 0.4%, the lowest for any month since at least January 1999.

CoreLogic said the rate for early-stage delinquencies (30-59 days past due) rose to 2% in March, up from 1.8% a year ago. The share of mortgages 60-89 days past due in March 2019 was unchanged at 0.6%. The serious delinquency rate (90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure) fell to 1.4% in March, down from 1.9% a year ago, matching the lowest for any March since 2006.

The report said the share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due rose to 0.9% in March, up from 0.7% 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%, peaking in November 2008 at 2%.

CoreLogic said while the overall delinquency rate has fallen on a year-over-year basis for the past 15 consecutive months, 21 states experienced a slight increase in the overall delinquency rate in March. Mississippi had the nation’s highest overall delinquency rate at 8.2%, an 0.5-percentage-point gain from a year ago, while Alabama’s gain was 0.3 percentage points. The other 19 states experienced annual gains of 0.1 or 0.2 percentage points.

“The increase in the overall delinquency rate in 42% of states most likely indicates many Americans were caught off guard by their expenses in early 2019,” said CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft. “A strong economy, labor market and record levels of home equity should limit delinquencies from progressing to later stages.”

The report said 166 U.S. metropolitan areas posted at least a small annual increase in the overall delinquency rate in march, with some of the highest gains reported in several hurricane-ravaged parts of the Southeast (Florida, Georgia and North Carolina), and in northern California’s Chico metropolitan area, home of last year’s “Camp Fire.”

“Delinquency rates and foreclosures continue to drop through March and should decline further in the months ahead barring any serious dislocations from recent flooding in the Midwest or a severe Atlantic hurricane and/or wildfire season on the coasts,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic.