The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.38 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2021, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey.
For the purposes of the survey, MBA asks servicers to report loans in forbearance as delinquent if the payment was not made based on the original terms of the mortgage. The delinquency rate was down 35 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2020, and up 202 basis points from one year ago.
“Mortgage delinquency rates continued to decrease in the first quarter of 2021, as a rebounding job market and stimulus checks helped borrowers stay current on their mortgage payments,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “Mortgage delinquencies track closely to the U.S. unemployment rate, and with unemployment dropping from last year’s spike, many households appear to be doing better.”
Walsh noted that in the history of MBA’s National Delinquency Survey, there has never been such a substantial decline in the delinquency rate over such a short period of time. The mortgage delinquency rate peaked at 8.22 percent in the second quarter of 2020 and within three quarters has dropped by 184 basis points to 6.38 percent. In addition, this quarter’s earliest stage delinquencies – the 30-day and 60-day delinquencies combined – dropped to the lowest levels since the inception of the survey in 1979.
This graph shows the percent of loans delinquent by days past due. Overall delinquencies decreased in Q1.
The decrease was in 30 and 60 day buckets, and in foreclosure. 90 delinquencies increased slightly (mostly loans in forbearance).
Compared to last quarter, the seasonally adjusted mortgage delinquency rate decreased for all loans outstanding. By stage, the 30-day delinquency rate decreased 32 basis points to 1.46 percent, the lowest rate since the survey began in 1979. The 60-day delinquency rate decreased 10 basis points to 0.67 percent, the lowest rate since the second quarter of 2000. The 90-day delinquency bucket increased 7 basis points to 4.25 percent.
The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure. The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started in the first quarter rose by 1 basis point to 0.04 percent. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the first quarter was 0.54 percent, down 2 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2020 and 19 basis points from one year ago. This is the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the first quarter of 1982.
This sharp increase last year in the 90-day bucket was due to loans in forbearance (included as delinquent, but not reported to the credit bureaus).
The percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined further, and was at the lowest level since 1982.