Delinquencies fell by 3.75% month-over-month in December, according to the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor report, while the foreclosure rates fell 1.57%. Year-over-year, delinquencies declined by over 12%.
Additionally, Black Knight found that there are now 2.05M loans in some stage of delinquency, including active foreclosures down 236K from the same time last year and the lowest year-end volume since the turn of the century. The strongest declines were primarily in the east and southern portions of the country and in areas heavily impacted by the 2017 and 2018 hurricane seasons.
Southern states including Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas held some of the largest volumes of non-current loans in the country. As of December 2019, Mississippi holds the highest volume at 9.99%, though this is a month-over-month decline from November’s 10.44%, and a 0.93% decline year-over-year.
All top five states in non-current percentages have seen marked declines over the year, with the biggest decline in Louisiana, where the non-current percentage fell by 6.81% from December 2018.
The lowest non-current percentages, meanwhile, remain concentrated on and around the East Coast, with Colorado still holding the lowest rate at 1.74%, down from November’s rate of 1.81%. Behind Colorado falls Washington (1.77%), Oregon (1.84%), Idaho (1.91%), and California (2.01%).
Black Knights report also covered home price growth. Growth fell from nearly 7% in early 2018 to 3.8% in August 2019, but it gained almost a full percentage point over the last four months of 2019—reaching 4.7% to close the year.
“Still, even with home price growth accelerating, today’s low-interest-rate environment has made home affordability the best it’s been since early 2018. At that time, the housing market was red-hot, with national home price growth at 6.6% and climbing—before rising rates and tightening affordability triggered a pullback in growth rates,” said Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske. “That’s not the case today. Despite the average home price increasing by nearly $13,000 from just over a year ago, the monthly mortgage payment required to buy that same home has actually dropped by 10% over that same span due to falling interest rates.”