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Southern States Lead Delinquency Drops

Mortgage delinquencies fell to a new record low, and just 2 million homeowners are either past due on their mortgage loans or in some stage of foreclosure, according to the latest data from Black Knight. 

Black Knight released its record-breaking delinquency score Thursday in its First Look at January 2020 Mortgage Data, a precursor to its monthly Mortgage Monitor. Black Knight has been analyzing data since 2000. In that time, the national delinquency rate has never fallen as low as it did this January when it sunk to 3.22%. 

Delinquencies fell more than 5% month-to-month in January and are down 14.17% over the year. 

While loan delinquencies are on a downward trend, foreclosure starts rose in January by 8.35%. However, they are 14.74% down on an annual basis. 

The foreclosure rate charted a barely perceptible increase of just 0.41% over the month of January as 1,000 properties slipped into foreclosure. The national foreclosure rate now stands at 0.46% of all mortgage loans outstanding. Despite the slight increase in January, the rate is down 9.24% from a year ago.   

The prepayment rate moved in the opposite direction, falling 15.33% over the month but up 112.97% over the year. 

The states with the highest percentage of non-current mortgage loans, including those that are delinquent as well as those in some stage of foreclosure, are Mississippi with a rate of 9.84%, Louisiana with 7.20%, Alabama with 6.26%, West Virginia with 6.10%, and Arkansas with 5.79%. 

Despite ranking highest in the nation for the percentage of non-current loans, these states all experienced a decline in non-current loans over the year. 

Colorado had the lowest rate of non-current loans with just 1.63% of loans past-due or in foreclosure. The state was followed by Washington (1.67%), Oregon (1.77%), Idaho (1.79%), and California (1.90%). 

Just as with the top-ranking states for non-current loans, all five of these states experienced declining rates of non-current loans over the past year. For all of these states, the change in the non-current loan rate was in the double-digits. 

The states with the highest percentage of severely delinquent loans—those 90 or more days past due—are Mississippi (3%), Louisiana (1.74%), Alabama (1.73%), Arkansas (1.61%), and Indiana (1.20%). 

About Author: Krista F. Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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