Black Knight Inc.’s “first look” at March 2022 month-end mortgage performance statistics derived from its loan-level database shows the national delinquency rate dropped by more than half a percentage point in March. It fell to 2.84%, shattering the previous record low of 3.22% in January 2020.
While March typically sees the strongest mortgage performance of any month – with delinquencies falling more than 10% on average over the past 20 years – this year’s 15.5% reduction was exceptionally strong. Robust employment, continued student loan deferrals, strong post-forbearance performance and millions of refinances into record-low interest rates have all helped put downward pressure on delinquency rates.
The strongest improvement was seen among borrowers who are a single payment past due, with 30-day delinquencies recording a 20% month-over-month decline. Though serious delinquencies – those 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure – fell 12% for the strongest single-month improvement in 20 years, they remain 70% above pre-pandemic levels.
Despite elevated serious delinquencies, foreclosure starts fell by 3% from the month prior and are holding well below pre-pandemic levels. The number of active foreclosures edged slightly higher in March, marking the first year-over-year increase in almost 10 years, though inventories also remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
Prepayment activity bucked the recent trend of sharply rising interest rates driving falling prepay speeds, rising by 9% in March, likely driven at least in part by seasonal increases in home sales-related prepays.
Total U.S. loan delinquency rate was 2.84% with a month-over-month change of -15.46% and a year-over-year change of -43.46% while total U.S. foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate was 0.32%, 3.70% and 3.94%, respectively. Total U.S. foreclosure starts were 24,300, -2.80% and 386%. Monthly prepayment rate (SMM) reached 1.22%, 8.76% and -63.54% while foreclosure sales (as % of 90+) landed at 0.42%, 39.01% and 172.90%.
The number of properties that are 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure, was 1,513,000 with a month-over-month change of -270,000 and a year-over-year change of -1,159,000. The number of properties that are 90 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure, was 694,000, -93,000 and -1,225,000, respectively. The number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory was 169,000, 7,000 and 7,000. The number of properties that are 30 or more days past due or in foreclosure was 1,682,000, -264,000 and -1,152,000.
The top 5 states by non-current percentage were Mississippi (6.21%), Louisiana (5.81%), Oklahoma (4.58%), Alabama (4.57%) and West Virginia (4.40%). The bottom 5 states by non-current percentage were Utah (1.98%), California (1.87%), Colorado (1.80%), Idaho (1.71%) and Washington (1.70%). The top 5 states by 90+ days delinquent percentage were Mississippi (2.70%), Louisiana (2.69%), Alabama (1.92%), Arkansas (1.85%) and Maryland (1.85%).
The top 5 states by 6-month improvement in non-current percentage were Hawaii (-40.54%), Louisiana (-34.93%), Nevada (-32.64%), California (-30.45%) and New Jersey (-30.12%). The top 5 states by 6-month deterioration in non-current percentage were Michigan (-10.67%), North Dakota (-12.69%), Iowa (-14.77%), Maine (-15.18%) and New Hampshire (-17.05%).