Freddie Mac's total mortgage portfolio expanded at an annualized rate of 0.9 percent in March, the sixth time in the past seven months the portfolio has expanded, while the serious delinquency rate on single-family loans fell to its lowest level in six and a half years, according to Freddie Mac's March 2015 Monthly Volume Summary released on Monday.
The portfolio's March expansion represented an increase of about $1.5 billion, up to $1.914 trillion. It was only the 14th time in the last 63 months that the portfolio has expanded dating back to January 2010, at the height of the foreclosure wave.
The serious delinquency rate on loans declined from February to March by 8 basis points, down to 1.73 percent. It is the lowest serious delinquency rate for loans backed by Freddie Mac since December 2008 in the midst of the housing crisis, when it was reported at 1.72 percent and had just experienced an increase of 20 basis points from the previous month.
"This is good news, meaning that fewer and fewer homeowners with mortgages backed by Freddie Mac are 90-days past due on their mortgage payments or in foreclosure," Freddie Mac said on its blog. "This rate is substantially below the rate for the entire U.S. mortgage market, whose seriously delinquent rate was 4.52 percent at the end of 2014."
Single-family refinance loan purchase and guarantee volume dipped in March after skyrocketing from January to February. In March, the total was $19.1 billion, down from $20.2 billion in February (which was an increase from $12.4 billion for January). The percentage of single-family refinance loan purchase and guarantee volume that comprised the total single-family mortgage portfolio increased, however, from 66 percent in February up to 68 percent in March. Ten percent of Freddie Mac's total single-family refinance volume in March was comprised of relief refinance mortgages, an increase from 9 percent in February (still down from 14 percent in January)
The number of homeowners who received permanent loan modifications totaled 5,144 for March, an increase from the 4,684 modifications reported for February. With 14,621 modifications to date in 2015, Freddie Mac is averaging 4,874 modifications per month. An average of 5,596 permanent loan mods were completed monthly in 2014.
Freddie Mac reported that the aggregate unpaid principal balance (UPB) of the Enterprise's mortgage-related investments portfolio in March increased month-over-month by about $1.4 billion after dropping by $3.2 billion from January to February.