Mortgage Delinquency Rates Fell to Historically Low Levels in 2019

Loan Performance Insights Report Highlights:
December 2019

By Molly Boesel Housing Affordability, Mortgage Finance

  • The nation’s overall delinquency rate was 3.7% in December.
  • The serious delinquency rate and the foreclosure rate have flattened out at low levels.

In December 2019, 3.7% of home mortgages were in some stage of delinquency[1], down from 4.1% a year earlier and the lowest for the month of December in more than 20 years, according to the latest CoreLogic Loan Performance Insights Report. The measure, also known as the overall delinquency rate, includes all home loans 30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure. For the month of December historically, the share of delinquent mortgages peaked in 2009 at 11.6%. Since March 2018, the overall delinquency rate each month has been lower than during the pre-crisis period of 2000 through 2006, when the rate averaged 4.7%.

The serious delinquency rate – defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure – was 1.2% in December 2019, down from 1.5% in December 2018. This is the lowest serious delinquency rate experienced since June 2000.  The foreclosure inventory rate – the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process – was 0.4% in December 2019, unchanged from a year earlier. December’s foreclosure rate was the lowest for that month in at least 20 years[2] and has stayed constant at 0.4% since November 2018. Rising home prices have led to record amounts of home equity, reducing the risk of foreclosure.

The share of mortgages that were 30 to 59 days past due – considered early-stage delinquencies – was 1.8% in December 2019, down from 2% in December 2018. The share of mortgages 60 to 89 days past due was 0.6% in December 2019, down from 0.7% in December 2018.

Figure 1: Current- to 30-Day Transition Rate

In addition to delinquency rates, CoreLogic tracks the rate at which mortgages transition from one stage of delinquency to the next, such as going from current to 30 days past due. Figure 1 shows that in December 2019 the current- to 30-day transition rate remained well below levels during the housing crisis. The December current- to 30-day rate was 0.8%, down from 0.9% a year earlier. The 30- to 60-day transition rate was 15.2% in December, down from 17% in December 2018, and the 60- to 90-day transition rate was 25.3% in December, down from 27.5% a year earlier.

Figure 2: States With the Highest and Lowest Rate of Mortgages At Least 30 Days Past Due

Figure 2 shows the states with the highest and lowest share of mortgages 30 days or more delinquent. In December 2019, that rate was highest in Mississippi at 7.2% and lowest in Colorado at 1.7%.  No states posted annual gains in their overall delinquency rate in December 2019. The states that logged the largest annual decreases included North Carolina and Mississippi (both down 0.8 percentage points).

Figure 3: Percentage of Mortgages At Least 30 Days Past Due For the Ten Largest Metropolian Areas

Figure 3 shows the 30-plus-day past-due rate for December 2019 for 10 large metropolitan areas.[3] Miami had the highest rate at 5.1%. San Francisco had the lowest rate at 1.2%.

Nationally, Panama City, Fla, which was affected by Hurricane Michael in 2018, saw the largest annual decrease with a 5.9 percentage point drop. Chico, Calif., the site of the destructive 2018 Camp Fire, had a 3.1 percentage point drop in the annual delinquency rate.  

While December 2019’s delinquency rates nationally were at their lowest levels in 20 years, there were 13 metropolitan areas that recorded annual increases. The largest annual increases were in the following metros: Janesville-Beloit, Wisconsin (up 1.9 percentage points); Enid, Oklahoma (up 0.6 percentage points); and Pine Bluff, Arkansas (up 0.6 percentage points).

© 2020 CoreLogic, Inc. All rights reserved.

[1] Data in this report is provided by TrueStandings Servicing.  https://www.corelogic.com/products/truestandings-servicing.aspx

[2] The data in this report date back to January 1999.

[3] Metropolitan areas used in this report are the ten most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The report uses Metropolitan Divisions where available.