Mortgage Delinquency Rate Fell to 19-Year Low in February

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The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate fell to 4% of all loans in February, down from 4.8% in February 2018 to reach the lowest level in 19 years, according to CoreLogic.

The 0.8 percentage point monthly decrease came despite the fact that delinquencies remained elevated in areas impacted by the hurricanes last fall.

Not one state saw its annual delinquency rate rise. 

Mortgages that were 30 to 59 days past due represented 2% of all loans in February, down from 2.1% in February 2018.

Mortgages that were 60 to 89 days past due represented 0.6% of all loans, down from 0.7% a year earlier.

The serious delinquency rate – defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure – was 1.4% of all loans, down from 2.1% in February 2018.

It was the lowest serious delinquency rate for the month of February since 2001, when it was also 1.4%.

The foreclosure inventory rate was 0.4%, down 0.2 percentage points from February 2018.

It was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate for any month since at least January 1999.

“The persistently impressive economic expansion continues to drive down housing market distress, with delinquencies and foreclosures hitting near two-decade lows,” says Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, in a statement. “Furthermore, with unemployment at a 50-year low, wage growth nearing double inflation and a positive demographic structure that will drive housing demand upwards, the future of U.S. housing and mortgage markets look bright even if short term indicators suggest cooling.”

As of February the national mortgage delinquency rate had fallen on a year-over-year basis for 14 consecutive months.

“We are on track to test generational lows as delinquency rates hit their lowest point in almost two decades,” says Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Given the economic outlook, we are likely to see more declines over the balance of this year.

“Reflective of the drop in delinquency rates, no state experienced a year-over-year increase in its foreclosure inventory rate so far in 2019,” Martell adds.

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