Foreclosure Starts Ticked Up in December as Moratoriums Concluded

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The mortgage delinquency rate (30 days or more past due) fell to 3.38% in December, down nearly 6% compared with November and down nearly 45% compared with December 2020, according to Black Knight’s First Look report.

That’s almost as low as the pre-pandemic delinquency rate of 3.28% in February 2020.

As of the end of the year there were about 1.8 million properties were 30 days or more past due, down about 107,000 compared with the previous month, and down about 1.45 million compared with a year earlier. 

Foreclosure starts took a significant jump, a function of state and federal foreclosure moratoriums coming to an end. There were 4,100 foreclosure starts in December, according to Black Knight’s data, an increase of 10.8% compared with November.

Foreclosure starts, however, were down 42% compared with December 2020.

In addition to rising foreclosure starts, serious delinquencies remain elevated. As of the end of December, 946,000 properties were 90 days or more past due. That’s down about 80,000 compared with the previous month and down 1.2 million compared with a year earlier. Still, serious delinquencies are more than double pre-pandemic levels.

“Given the large volume of borrowers who’ve exited forbearance protections in recent months, the industry must keep a very close eye on foreclosure metrics moving forward in 2022,” Black Knight notes.

Photo: Pierre Bamin

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