Mortgage Delinquencies Started 2020 at Very Low Levels

Loan Performance Insights Report Highlights: January 2020

By Molly Boesel Housing Affordability, Mortgage Finance

  • The nation’s overall delinquency rate was 3.5% in January.
  • The serious delinquency rate and the foreclosure rate have flattened out at low levels.

In January 2020, 3.5% of home mortgages were in some stage of delinquency[1], down from 4.0% a year earlier and the lowest in more than 21 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 January historically, the share of delinquent mortgages peaked in 2010 at 12%. Mortgage delinquencies started the year off at very low levels, but the effects of increased unemployment from the COVID-19 outbreak won’t be evident in the mortgage delinquency numbers for many months.

The serious delinquency rate – defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure – was 1.2% in January 2020, down from 1.4% in January 2019. This is the lowest serious delinquency rate experienced since April 2000.  The foreclosure inventory rate – the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process – was 0.4% in January 2020, unchanged from a year earlier. January’s foreclosure rate was the lowest for that month in at least 21 years[2], a rate which has stayed constant since November 2018.

The share of mortgages that were 30 to 59 days past due – considered early-stage delinquencies – was 1.7% in January 2020, down from 1.9% in January 2019. The share of mortgages 60 to 89 days past due was 0.6% in January 2020, down from 0.7% in January 2019.

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 January 2020 the current- to 30-day transition rate remained well below levels during the housing crisis. The January current- to 30-day rate was 0.6%, down from 0.8% a year earlier. The 30- to 60-day transition rate was 13.9% in January, down from 14.9% in January 2019, and the 60- to 90-day transition rate was 23.5% in January, down from 24.9% 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 January 2020, that rate was highest in Mississippi at 6.9% and lowest in Colorado at 1.5%.  No states posted annual gains in their overall delinquency rate in January 2020. The states that logged the largest annual decreases included Mississippi (down 1.1 percentage points and North Carolina (down 0.9 percentage points).

Figure 3: Percentage Of Mortgages At Least 30 Days Past Due For The Ten Largest

Figure 3 shows the 30-plus-day past-due rate for January 2020 for 10 large metropolitan areas.[3] Miami had the highest rate at 4.8%. San Francisco had the lowest rate at 1.1%.

Nationally, Panama City, Fla., which was affected by Hurricane Michael in 2018, saw the largest annual decrease with a 4-percentage point drop. Chico, Calif., the site of the destructive 2018 Camp Fire, had a 2.2-percentage point drop in the annual delinquency rate.  

While January 2020’s delinquency rates nationally were at their lowest levels in more than 21 years, there were 3 metropolitan areas that recorded small annual increases: Pine Bluff, Arkansas (up 0.3 percentage points); Dubuque, Iowa (up 0.2 percentage points); and Enid, Oklahoma (up 0.2 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.