Real Estate

For the month of December, 3% of all mortgages in the U.S. were in some stage of delinquency —which is 30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure— representing a 0.4 percentage point decrease compared with 3.4% recorded in December 2021 and less than a 0.1 percentage point increase compared with November 2022, according to a new Loan Performance Insights Report.

To gain a complete view of the mortgage market and loan performance health, CoreLogic
CLGX
, who issued the report, examines all stages of delinquency. In December 2022, the delinquency and transition rates and their year-over-year changes, were as follows:

Early-stage delinquencies (30 to 59 days past due): 1.4%, up from 1.2% in December 2021.

Adverse delinquency (60 to 89 days past due): 0.4%, up from 0.3% in December 2021.

Serious delinquency (90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure): 1.2%, down from 1.9% in December 2021 and a high of 4.3% in August 2020.

Foreclosure inventory rate (the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process): 0.3%, up from 0.2% in December 2021.

Transition rate (the share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due): 0.8%, up from 0.6% in December 2021.

Mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates remained consistently low throughout 2022 and closed the year in the same way. December’s 3% overall delinquency rate and the 0.3% foreclosure rate were only slightly higher than numbers recorded over the previous six months. Both types of delinquencies bottomed out in early 2022 and are now showing signs of minor upticks.

Most of that small increase comes from a change in early-stage delinquencies, which began inching up in mid-2022 after hovering near historic lows in the spring of 2021. Still, even with that slight market adjustment, delinquencies remain at the lowest level since the data series began in 1999.

On the other hand, December’s 1.2% serious delinquency rate has barely moved since last spring, which suggests that while some borrowers may have missed several mortgage payments, most are likely to recover relatively quickly.

Despite 2022’s exceptionally high mortgage performance, 65 U.S. metro areas posted at least slight annual increases in overall delinquency rates in December. This marks a substantial uptick from November and represents 17% of markets for which CoreLogic tracks data. While national home price annual gains are projected to continue slowing and may decline by the spring of 2023, positive employment reports and healthy amounts of home equity should help maintain a solid housing market foundation.

“Mortgage delinquency rates continued to post some of the strongest performance in three years in December, as a healthy job market helped borrowers remain current on their payments,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. “High amounts of home equity cushioned those borrowers who were far behind, keeping them from moving into foreclosure. While there was a small uptick in early-stage delinquencies and foreclosure inventory over 2022, other delinquency measures fell to new lows throughout the year.”

State and metro takeaways

In December, only one state posted an annual increase in its overall delinquency rate (Iowa, up by 0.1 percentage point). The states and districts with the largest declines were Louisiana (down by 1.1 percentage points); Washington, D.C. (down by 1 percentage point); and Alaska, Hawaii and New York (all down by 0.9 percentage points). The other states’ annual delinquency rates dropped between 0.8 and 0 percentage points.

In December, 65 metro areas posted an increase in overall delinquency rates, representing 17% of locations that CoreLogic tracks. The top three areas for mortgage delinquency gains year over year were Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida (up by 2.9 percentage points), Punta Gorda, Florida (up by 2.8 percentage points) and Altoona, Pennsylvania (up by 1 percentage point).

All but four U.S. metro areas posted at least a small annual decrease in serious delinquency rates (defined as more than 90 days late on a mortgage payment). The metros that saw serious delinquencies increase were Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida (up by 1 percentage point), Punta Gorda, Florida (up by 0.9 percentage points) and Bloomsburg-Berwick, Pennsylvania and Williamsport, Pennsylvania (both up by 0.1 percentage points). Increases in Florida metros reflect damage caused by Hurricane Ian in September 2022.

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