Mortgage Delinquencies Continued to Hold at Near-Record Lows in December

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Mortgage performance was stellar in 2019.

The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate continued to fall in December, as only 3.4% of all mortgages were 30 days or more past due, according to Black Knight’s First Look report.

That’s down 3.75% compared with November and down 12.43% compared with December 2018.

About 1.8 million residential properties were 30 days or more past due but not in foreclosure, a decrease of about 65,000 compared with the previous month and down about 210,000 compared with a year earlier.

The 3.4% delinquency rate is within 0.04% of the record low set in May, Black Knight says.

Serious delinquencies also fell month-over-month and year-over-year. About 427,000 properties were 90 days or more past due but not in foreclosure – down about 12,000 compared with November and down about 84,000 compared with December 2018.

The foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate stood at about 0.46%, down 1.57% compared with the previous month and down 11.59% compared with a year earlier.

As of the end of the month, there were about 245,000 homes in the foreclosure pre-sale inventory, down about 3,000 compared with November and down 26,000 compared with December 2018.

Foreclosure starts jumped to a monthly rate of about 39,500 – up nearly 18% compared with the previous month but down 14.69% compared with a year ago. The month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts is in keeping with seasonal cycles and should be take with a grain of salt: Foreclosure starts are well below pre-crisis levels.

Black Knight notes that the national foreclosure rate in December was at a 14-year low and was at the lowest level on record outside the final five months of 2005.

The monthly prepayment rate stood at 1.48%, up 1.43% compared with the previous month and up 126% compared with a year earlier.

“After falling by 19% in November, prepayment rates ticked upward in December, suggesting that the recent leveling off of interest rates has had a flattening effect on refinance activity,” Black Knight says in the report.

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