TransUnion, one of the three national credit reporting agencies, is reporting that the rate of housing finance borrowers more than 60 days late on their mortgage loans has dropped for the second consecutive month, moving to 5.49% in the second quarter.
This means the rate has dropped almost 9% in the first six months of this year, the bureau reported.
“While it is a positive sign to see mortgage delinquency rates decrease, meaning more and more homeowners were able to make their mortgage payments, the rate of the decline is still not at a pace that will push levels significantly closer to pre-recession norms,” said Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. Housing in TransUnion’s financial services business unit.
“The pace of improvement should pick up when we review third quarter results, helped by a few months of relatively good news on home prices, this year’s resurgence in refinance activity related to HARP 2.0 and record low mortgage interest rates,” Martin said.
Between the first and second quarters of 2012, all but five states experienced decreases in their mortgage delinquency rates, TransUnion reported. On a more granular level, 76% of metropolitan areas saw improvement in their mortgage delinquency rates in the second quarter.
This is up from the previous two quarters when 73% of the MSAs in the first quarter of this year and 36% in the fourth quarter of last year experienced improvement.
On a year-over-year basis, two of the states most negatively impacted by the mortgage crisis – Arizona and California – have seen the greatest improvement in mortgage delinquencies.
Since the second quarter of 2011, California’s mortgage delinquency rate has dropped nearly 22% to 6.13%, while Arizona’s rate declined 21% to 6.14%, TransUnion said. Both states had double-digit delinquency levels just two years ago.
As in Arizona and California, many other states have experienced stabilization in home prices, though unemployment levels continue to remain stubbornly high. Looking at a multitude of economic factors, TransUnion’s forecast predicts mortgage delinquency rates will maintain their downward trajectory for the remainder of 2012.
“The economy has not grown at a robust rate, but it does continue to slowly improve and we believe the improvement in mortgage delinquencies will follow a similar pattern,” said Martin. “With steadying home prices, and mortgage interest rates remaining at extremely low levels, it appears that market conditions are set up to allow for further declines in the mortgage delinquency rate.”