The number of homeowners declared to be late on their mortgage payments has dipped to the lowest level in 18 years.
Nationwide, only 4.1 percent of homeowners were delinquent on their mortgages in October, according to CoreLogic’s latest Loan Performance Insights report released Tuesday. Down from 5.1 percent in October 2017, the latest rate is the lowest it’s been during the month of October since 2000.
Foreclosures, in which property is seized due to an owner’s inability to pay, fell to 0.5 percent, from 0.6 percent the previous year.
Serious delinquencies, defined as mortgage payments overdue by more than 90 days, fell to 1.5 percent, from 1.9 percent last year — the lowest since 2006.
“While the strong economy has helped families stay current and push overall delinquency rates lower, areas that were hit hard by natural disasters have seen a rise in loan defaults,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a prepared statement.
Despite the softening numbers, delinquencies and foreclosures still plague areas hit by natural disasters, where homeowners with damaged property frequently need time to decide whether to sell or repair. In North Carolina, where Hurricane Florence destroyed more than 11,000 homes in September, the 30-day delinquency rate doubled in the first month after the storm in several of the state’s largest cities.
Cities with expensive real estate also saw slightly higher rates of foreclosures and delinquencies, with New York among the metropolitan areas experiencing the highest uptick at 6 percent, according to CoreLogic. Elsewhere, Louisiana (7.2 percent) and Alabama (5.9 percent) shouldered high 30-day delinquency rates due, in part, to flooding in 2016 and Hurricane Michael, respectively, according to the report.
Nonetheless, the overall picture is positive due, in part, to a strong job market and low unemployment rates, which have allowed more people to avoid falling delinquent on mortgage payments, said Frank Martell, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.
“Despite some regional spikes related to hurricane and fire impacted areas, overall delinquency rates are near or at historic lows,” Martell said in a statement.