Recent data out about mortgage delinquencies shows an encouraging sign, defaults are down again.
The national mortgage delinquency rate (the rate of borrowers 60 or more days past due) dropped for the second consecutive quarter, declining to 5.49% in Q2 2012. The mortgage delinquency rate has now dropped nearly 9% in the first six months of this year.
This information is reported by TransUnion and is part of its ongoing series of quarterly analyses of credit-active U.S. consumers and how they are managing credit related to mortgages, credit cards and auto loans.
“While it is a positive sign to see mortgage delinquency rates decrease, meaning more and more homeowners were able to make their mortgage payments, the rate of the decline is still not at a pace that will push levels significantly closer to pre-recession norms,” said Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. Housing in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “The pace of improvement should pick up when we review third quarter results, helped by a few months of relatively good news on home prices, this year’s resurgence in refinance activity related to HARP 2.0 and record low mortgage interest rates.”
Between the first and second quarters of 2012, all but five states experienced decreases in their mortgage delinquency rates. On a more granular level, 76% of metropolitan areas saw improvement in their mortgage delinquency rates in Q2 2012. This is up from the previous two quarters when 73% (Q1 2012) and 36% (Q4 2011) of the MSAs experienced improvement.
On a year-over-year basis, two of the states most negatively impacted by the mortgage crisis — Arizona and California — have seen the greatest improvement in mortgage delinquencies. Since the second quarter of 2011, California’s mortgage delinquency rate has dropped nearly 22% to 6.13%, while Arizona’s rate declined 21% to 6.14%. Both states had double-digit delinquency levels just two years ago.
As in Arizona and California, many other states have experienced stabilization in home prices, though unemployment levels continue to remain stubbornly high. Looking at a multitude of economic factors, TransUnion’s forecast predicts mortgage delinquency rates will maintain their downward trajectory for the remainder of 2012.
“The economy has not grown at a robust rate, but it does continue to slowly improve and we believe the improvement in mortgage delinquencies will follow a similar pattern,” said Martin. “With steadying home prices, and mortgage interest rates remaining at extremely low levels, it appears that market conditions are set up to allow for further declines in the mortgage delinquency rate.”
TransUnion’s forecast is based on various economic assumptions, such as gross state product, consumer sentiment, unemployment rates, real personal income, and real estate values. The forecast would change if there are unanticipated shocks to the economy affecting recovery in the housing market or if home prices fall more than expected.