After a slight uptick in the previous month, nationwide delinquency rates in December fell to the lowest level for the past 20 years.

Across the United States, overall delinquency rates fell to 3.7 percent — down from 3.9 percent in November, according to new data from property analytics provider CoreLogic. The number is also down from 4.1 percent in December 2018.

CoreLogic

“The CoreLogic HPI shows home price growth quickened during the last few months of 2019, padding the home equity cushion for owners,” Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, said in a press statement. “Our HPI Forecast for 2020 anticipates a further pickup in appreciation, adding to home-equity wealth for owners and lowering foreclosure risk.”

The foreclosure inventory rate, or the share of mortgages in some stage of foreclosure, is at 0.4 percent — same as both last month and the year prior. The outlook for the future is, on the whole, positive. No state saw the number of its delinquencies grow while North Carolina and Mississippi saw the most dramatic drops at 0.8 percentage points each.

CoreLogic

The low numbers are, according to CoreLogic, powered by a flourishing job market, a strong economy and growing home values — after people buy a home, fewer and fewer struggle to make their payments.

“The longest economic expansion in history helped serious delinquency rates reach a 20-year low,” Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, said in a press statement. “As mortgage rates continue to fall in the wake of recent global events, we may see homeowners refinance into lower-monthly payments, or into shorter-term mortgages, which can further reduce delinquency and foreclosure risk.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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