Black Knight: Fewer Delinquent Borrowers Means Tighter Inventory

Recent research from Black Knight Financial Services shows that borrowers with low fixed interest rates are less likely to list their homes for sale, while borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) are 72% more likely to list than those with fixed rates.

Through an analysis of loan-level mortgage performance and multiple listing service data, Black Knight examined the correlation between mortgage characteristics and the likelihood a property will be listed and/or sold.

Ben Graboske, senior vice president of data and analytics for Black Knight, says this finding “is hardly surprising, given that buyers often choose ARMs when they plan to stay in their homes for less time.”

However, he points out that this is something that lenders and real estate professionals might want to “keep an eye on if and when interest rates begin to rise.”

“Should the trend hold true, rising interest rates could put an even greater strain on an already tight housing inventory,” he says in Black Knight’s most recent Mortgage Monitor report.

The firm’s research also shows that borrowers who are current on their mortgages are less likely to list their properties for sale than borrowers who are delinquent. This, in turn, is contributing to the inventory shortages.

“We’re now in the heart of the spring home buying season, and, as has been true for several years, there are still reports of tight inventory,” Graboske says. “We found that the share of homes with mortgages listed for sale is down 22 percent since 2012 and down five percent from the same time last year. One driver is that while delinquent borrowers are still more than twice as likely to list their homes for sale, there are far fewer of these borrowers, as well as a much lower share of such homes listed for sale, than in 2012. On the other hand, listings from borrowers who are current on their mortgages are up 10 percent over the same time period.”


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