Foreclosures, serious mortgage delinquencies hit lowest point in decades

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Low levels of foreclosure

The national rate of foreclosure has officially hit its lowest point in at least 20 years. And overall underwater mortgages? Those are down, too, according to new data.

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Foreclosures hit record low

According to new data from CoreLogic, the number of mortgages in some stage of foreclosures is just 0.4 percent. That’s the lowest rate since January 1999.

Overall mortgage delinquencies — or the number of mortgages at least 30 days behind on payments — are also down. Just 4 percent of homeowners are delinquent, down from 4.3 percent last year. 

Only 1.3 percent of mortgages are 90 days or more behind — the lowest serious delinquency rate in over 19 years.

According to Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, strong home values have helped to keep more homeowners above water.

“A strong economy and eight-plus years of home price growth have made mortgage foreclosure an infrequent event,” Nothaft said. “This backdrop will help the mortgage market limit delinquencies in most of the country whenever a downturn should start.”

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Bucking the trend

Delinquencies aren’t down everywhere, though. In fact, according to CoreLogic’s data, there are some hold-out areas where mortgage delinquencies are climbing.

In Janesville, Wisconsin, delinquent mortgages were up 2.5 percent between June 2018 and June 2019, and in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, they jumped 1.6 percent.

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Other cities to experience gains were Panama City, Florida; Altoona, Pennsylvania; Kokomo, Indiana; Alexandria, Louisiana; and Jacksonville and Goldsboro, North Carolina.

As Frank Martell, CoreLogic’s CEO explains, “While the nation continues to post near-record-low mortgage delinquency rates, we are seeing signs of emerging stress in some states. We saw rates jump in states such as Vermont, New Hampshire, Nebraska and Minnesota that weren’t tied to a natural disaster.”

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