According to TransUnion's most recent quarterly analysis, the national mortgage delinquency rate in the first quarter of 2013 dropped 21% versus last year and now stands at 4.56%. From the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of this year, the delinquency rate dropped 12%.
The company says that on a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis, this is the best improvement in the mortgage delinquency rate since TransUnion began observing the data in 1992.
‘We certainly expected improvement this quarter, as the housing sector is in recovery, but the magnitude of the improvement was unexpected,’ says Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. housing in TransUnion's financial services business unit.
Compared to 2012 figures, every state and the District of Columbia experienced improvement in their mortgage delinquency rates, which TransUnion defines as 60 or more days past due.
Arizona (-37.9%) and California (-36.6%) led the way once again in terms of mortgage delinquency improvement, and other states also saw marked declines. These included Colorado (-28.5%), Michigan (-28.1%) and Minnesota (-25.7%). Florida, one of the hardest hit states by the housing crisis, also saw a 20.7% yearly decline.
According to TransUnion, 91% of MSAs experienced a yearly decline in their mortgage delinquency rate. This percentage was an improvement over the previous quarter, when 81.4% of MSAs had a yearly drop in their rate.
California was represented by 15 of the 25 MSAs that experienced the largest yearly mortgage delinquency declines. Notable California MSAs include San Jose (-44.3%), San Francisco (-39.2%), San Diego (-38.4%) and Sacramento (-36.6%).
TransUnion says it expects the mortgage delinquency rate to continue its downward trend in the second quarter of 2013, finishing near 4.5%.
‘All housing data point to further improvements in the delinquency rate, though as in the past few years, this also will hinge on how quickly older vintage loans clear through the system,’ Martin adds. ‘We do not know if the first quarter was a blip, or if it's the beginning of a more rapid decline.’