What is going on in the housing market and where to get help if you have mortgage delinquencies.

In a great article on Mortgage News Daily , journalist Jann Swanson details how mortgage performance understandably deteriorated over the course of 2020. Black Knight, an award-winning tech company that delivers data and analytics for the mortgage industry, released a report that the year ended with 1.54 million more mortgage delinquencies and 1.7 million more that were seriously delinquent than at the start, calling it “a looming reminder of the challenges facing the market in 2021.”

The situation did continue to improve as the year ended. The national mortgage delinquency rate fell 3.9 percent from November to December and the resulting rate of 6.08% of all active loans was the lowest since April 2020 when the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in. It is however, nearly 79% higher than the rate at the end of 2019.

Serious mortgage delinquencies, loans 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, also declined, dropping by 47,000 loans to 2.146 million loans. In December 2019 there were 1.719 million such loans.

The Impact of Foreclosure Moratoriums

There were 7,100 foreclosure starts during the month. Foreclosure moratoriums are still in effect and are probably affecting those numbers, but the December starts, while an increase of just over 60% from November, were down over 80% from the prior December. Completed foreclosures for the entire year numbered 40,000 an annual decline of more than 70%.

A total of 3.251 million loans were 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, down 130,000 month-over-month but 1.448 million more loans than were non-current a year earlier. Loans in process of foreclosure total 178,000, 2,000 more than the prior month but 67,000 fewer than the inventory in December 2019. That decline is probably also an artifact of the moratoriums.

Mortgage Forebearances

The company also released its weekly report on mortgage forbearances covering the period ended January 19. As has become common over the course of the program, the number of active plans tends to increase mid-month and did so last week, growing by 17,000. The number is, however, down 2.1 percent from the previous month. There were 2.74 million homeowners in forbearance at the end of the reporting week, representing 5.2 percent of all active mortgages and unpaid principal balances totaling $548 billion. Black Knight says the total number of active plans has been vacillating between 2.71 and 2.83 million since early November when the number of CORVIN-19 cases began to rise along with shutdowns.

Do You Need Help With a Mortgage Delinquency?

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