The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.77 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015. This was the lowest level since the third quarter of 2006. The delinquency rate decreased 22 basis points from the previous quarter, and 91 basis points from one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) National Delinquency Survey, released recently at the association's National Mortgage Servicing Conference and Expo 2016 in Orlando, Fla. The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure.
The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started during the fourth quarter was 0.36 percent, a decrease of two basis points from the previous quarter, and down 10 basis points from one year ago. This foreclosure starts rate was at the lowest level since the second quarter of 2003.
The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the third quarter was 1.77 percent, down 11 basis points from the third quarter and 50 basis points lower than one year ago. This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate seen since the third quarter of 2007.
The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 3.44 percent, a decrease of 13 basis points from last quarter, and a decrease of 108 basis points from last year. This was the lowest serious delinquency rate since the third quarter of 2007.
"As the job market has improved and national home prices have rebounded, fewer borrowers were becoming seriously delinquent, while borrowers previously behind on their payments were in a better position to pursue alternative options to resolve delinquent loans,” says Marina Walsh, MBA's Vice President of Industry Analysis.
"The overall delinquency rate fell to pre-recession levels and at 4.8 percent, was lower than the historical average of 5.4 percent for the time period 1979 to 2015. The rate at which new foreclosures were started decreased to 0.36 percent, the lowest rate since 2003 and only one-fourth of the record high level during the worst of the foreclosure crisis in the third quarter of 2009.
"Mortgage performance is closely connected to job market health and most states saw employment growth continue over the past year. However, there were increases in the foreclosure starts rate in a handful of states that have economies closely tied to the oil industry. Out of 12 states that had an increase in foreclosure starts in the fourth quarter, five of those were in states with oil-dependent local economies. Oklahoma, North Dakota, Louisiana, Colorado, and Texas saw increases in new foreclosures while the national average continued to trend lower.
"Foreclosure inventory rates continued to decline in both judicial and non-judicial states. New Jersey and New York, which lead the nation in foreclosure inventory rates, had the largest year-over-year declines in their respective histories.”