Wildfires, hurricanes triggered Q4 mortgage delinquencies: CoreLogic

Effects of these natural disasters 'all too clear' in latest loan performance report

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Though they might not feel the wind and the rain of a hurricane or the scorching heat of a wildfire anymore, residents of Florida, California and Texas — and the hardest hit of them all, Puerto Rico — are all still feeling the effects of these disasters that struck months ago.

CoreLogic’s December 2017 Loan Performance Insights report showed that two and three-month loan delinquency rates more than doubled in Sonoma and Napa counties between October and December 2017 after the North San Francisco Bay wildfires.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria also left their mark, with serious delinquency rates — defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure — reported in the Houston and Miami metropolitan areas doubling between September and year-end, while in Puerto Rico’s largest city, San Juan, serious delinquencies increased fourfold, according to CoreLogic’s chief economist Frank Nothaft.

Credit: CoreLogic Loan Performance Insights Report

“The effect of the wildfires and hurricanes on delinquency transition rates was all too clear in our latest analysis. In Sonoma and Napa counties, both 30-60 day and 60-90 day delinquent transition rates in December were more than double what they had averaged the prior year,” added Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

Similarly, neighborhoods affected by hurricanes saw a jump in transition rates in the months afterward, he said. Transition rates indicate the percent of mortgages moving from one stage of delinquency to the next.

“These natural disasters have stalled or reversed the decline in 30 to 119-day delinquency rates that we had seen previously,” Martell noted.

In Florida and Texas, the serious delinquency rate increased while Alaska and North Dakota stayed level and all remaining states decreased.

The CoreLogic report also identified 33 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) or metros where the serious delinquency rate increased in 2017 — these included towns hard hit by Harvey such as Corpus Christi; Victoria; and College Station-Bryan in coastal Texas, as well as Houston’s The Woodlands-Sugar Land; Beaumont-Port Arthur; and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Many metros in Florida also saw delinquencies rise.

These are the exceptions for the country, however, which is in good health otherwise, according to CoreLogic. Overall, the 30-day plus delinquency rate, the most comprehensive measure of mortgage performance, is near a 10-year low. The share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due was 1 percent in December 2017, the same as December 2016.

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