Sam Gendusa October 5, 2018

Newsletter - October 2018

The serious mortgage delinquency rate in the United States hit 1.7% in June 2018, down from 1.9% June 2017 — a low not seen since August 2007.

“Serious” delinquencies are mortgages that are more than 90 days past due, but 4.3% of home mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (including foreclosure) in June. This number is down from 4.6% a year prior, according to a recent Corelogic report.

“A solid labor market enables more homeowners to remain current on their mortgage,” said Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist. “The national unemployment rate in June 2018 was 4 percent, the lowest for June in 18 years.”

There are two exceptions to the national trend, however: Texas and Florida were the only states to post annual gains in the serious delinquency rate.

Why? Two reasons: Harvey and Irma.

“Delinquency rates in areas hit by wildfires, hurricanes or other natural disasters have jumped as families deal with financial disruption and tragedy,” Nothaft said. “The loss of housing and the displacement of families also tends to drive up local rents and reduce vacancies.”

In fact, serious mortgage delinquency rates tripled in Houston, TX, and Cape Coral, FL once the federally mandated foreclosure moratoria after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma ended.

"Neighborhoods impacted by similar disasters in 2018 should also expect to see a spike in delinquencies in the coming year,” said CoreLogic CEO, Frank Martell. “With storms and wildfires currently impacting multiple areas of the country, homeowners, lenders and servicers should remain vigilant of potential impacts, particularly those in California, Hawaii, and the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast states.”

That statement came even before Hurricane Florence bore down on the Carolina coasts last month, dropping more than 30 inches of rain in some areas.

Early estimates of the damage caused by Florence reach up to $50 billion, but time will tell. (Hurricane Harvey’s toll last year reached $133.5 billion.) Whatever the final number, we can be pretty sure she’ll leave some foreclosures in her wake, as well.

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