Delinquencies improve to lowest level since March

The share of mortgages in delinquency improved in October, falling 3.3% month over month to reach 6.44%, the lowest level since March.

That’s according to Black Knight, which reported that there were 105,000 fewer past due mortgages in October than September. Per Black Knight’s data, October marked the fifth straight month that the national delinquency rate has improved, with owners finding ways to stabilize their finances and make their monthly housing payments as the pandemic drags on.

Delinquency Rate Graph BK OctoberSerious delinquencies — loans 90 days or more past due — also fell in October, dropping by 64,000 properties from the month prior.

Despite the drops, both total delinquencies and serious delinquencies remain elevated. There were still more than 3.4 million homeowners past due on their mortgages during October, almost twice as many as there were at the start of the year.

And there were 1.8 million more properties seriously delinquent in October than at the start of 2020 — five times as much seriously delinquent volume as pre-pandemic levels.

[Note: Black Knight’s foreclosure numbers differ slightly from those reported by CoreLogic due to differences in methodology between the two analytics companies. CoreLogic’s numbers are reported on a two-month delay, which is why CoreLogic data for the most recent months is absent from the overall delinquency rate chart.]

Meanwhile, foreclosure activity remains at record lows, thanks in part to extensive ongoing foreclosure moratoria related to COVID-19. October saw only 4,700 foreclosure starts, a decrease of almost 90% year over year. The active foreclosure inventory fell to 178,000, another record low.

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