Black Knight: Good Payment Performance, and ‘More Is Yet to Come’

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Black Knight Inc.’s Data & Analytics division says its most recent Mortgage Monitor Report shows a 16.4% decline in residential delinquencies, suggesting that improving economic trends are now being reflected in the mortgage market.

“Not only did March see the largest single-month improvement in delinquencies in 11 years, but all indications suggest more is yet to come,” says Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske. “Several factors contributed to particularly strong mortgage performance in March, including the distribution of 159 million stimulus payments totaling more than $376 billion, broader economic improvement leading to nearly a million new jobs and 1.2 million forbearance plans reviewed for extension or removal, resulting in an 11% decline in plan volumes in the last 30 days.

“As many early forbearance plan adopters shifted to post-forbearance waterfalls to get back to performing on their mortgage payments, inflow has continued to steadily improve as well,” he adds. “And, of the 7.1 million homeowners who have been in COVID-19 forbearance at one point or another, performance among those who have left plans has generally been strong.”

Black Knight says its McDash Flash daily performance dataset showed strong early payment activity during April: through 4/23, 91.6% of mortgage holders had made their monthly payments, up from 91% in March and the largest share for any month since the onset of the pandemic.

The report’s data showed that the number of borrowers with a single payment past due fell by 34% from February and is now down 50% from the same time last year to hit an all-time low in March.

Though 60-day delinquencies are also now back below pre-pandemic levels and near record lows as well, the number of homeowners 90 or more days past due remains nearly five times what it was prior to COVID.

One possibility for early-stage delinquencies falling well below pre-pandemic levels could be an elevated share of borrowers are rolling forward to later stages of delinquency – when they otherwise might not – due to participation in available forbearance programs, according to Black Knight.

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