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Mortgage delinquency rates ticked up slightly in February, the first increase since August 2020. CoreLogic said the national delinquency rate at the end of the reporting period was 5.7 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from January. The rate indicates the percentage of all mortgages that were 30 or more days past due including those in foreclosure. The rate in February 2020, one month before the COVID-19 virus shut down much of the country, was 3.6 percent. It peaked at 4.3 percent in August 2020. "Some families that had overspent during the year-end holiday season, and then faced financial stress in the new year, may slip behind on a mortgage payment by February," said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. "During each of the last five years, the 30-day delinquency rate moved higher from January to February. With economic conditions improving, we expect delinquency rates to move lower in coming months."
Fannie Mae has conducted the National Housing Survey every month since 2011. Among its most prominent questions are those relating to home buying and home selling: is it a good or a bad time to do either one? Last month the net positive responses for the good time to buy category fell into negative territory for the first time. The good time to sell question had plunged into seriously negative territory (-36 percent) in the spring of last year as the pandemic hit, but this time it remained well above water. Sixty-seven percent of respondents viewed this as a good time to sell versus 26 percent who did not, a net positive of 41 percent, an 8 point gain from March and up 77 points from the disastrous results during the lockdown.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that the percentage of non-current mortgages dropped by 35 basis points (bps) in the first quarter of 2021. According to MBA vice president Marina Walsh, it was the largest quarterly decline in delinquencies in the history of the Association's National Delinquency Survey. The national delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four unit residences was at a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.38 percent at the end of the quarter. The rate includes loans in forbearance if borrowers are not making payments as agreed but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure. The delinquency rate peaked at 8.22 percent in the second quarter of 2020 and within three quarters has dropped by 184 bps to 6.38 percent. Despite the improvements, however, the overall rate is still 202 bps higher than it was at the same point in 2020.