Home Mortgage Delinquencies Soar by Most on Record in April
(Bloomberg) -- Delinquencies on U.S. home loans surged by 1.6 million in April, the biggest one-month gain ever, after the government cleared the way for Americans who lost income in the pandemic to delay payments without penalty.
Mortgages at least 30 days in arrears almost doubled to 6.45%, the highest rate since January 2015, according to data compiled by Black Knight Inc. About 3.4 million loans were more than 30 days late and an additional 211,000 properties were in foreclosure or on track for repossession by lenders.
A federal relief program allows borrowers impacted by the virus an initial six-month payment deferral without penalty. About 4.7 million borrowers were in forbearance as of May 12, according to Black Knight.
“While April saw a record single-month increase in the national delinquency rate, the data shows that the vast majority of new delinquencies represent borrowers who are currently in COVID-19-related forbearance programs,” said Andy Walden, economist and director of market research at Black Knight.
The pace of delinquency increases is unprecedented but it’s still uncertain whether the volume of problem loans will return to the levels they reached after the last decade’s foreclosure crisis. About 7.9 million mortgages were noncurrent in January 2010, according to Black Knight.
Employers cut a record 20.5 million jobs in April and the unemployment rate tripled to 14.5% as shelter-in-place health orders pummeled the economy.
In another sign of housing weakness, U.S. sales of previously-owned homes sank 17.8% in April from a month earlier, the biggest drop since 2010, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
Other report highlights:
- Metro areas with the biggest month-on-month delinquency increases were Miami, Las Vegas and New York City.
- Mississippi had the highest rate of late payments at 11.9%, followed by Louisiana and New York.
- New York state’s delinquency rate almost doubled from a year earlier to 9.8%. It peaked at 13.9% in December 2012.
- New Jersey’s delinquency rate hit 9.4%, more than double April 2019. It also peaked in December 2012 at 16.8%.
- California’s noncurrent loan rate was 5.7%. It peaked at 15.7% in February 2010.
- The number of loans in foreclosure declined nationally amid moratoriums halting the process.
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