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Mortgage Deliquencies are expected to climb due to the coronavirus, but according to CoreLogic’s® Loan Performance Insights Report, rates were at record lows in February. In the second month of 2020, just 3.6 percent of mortgages across the U.S. were in some stage of delinquency (meaning 30 days or more past due or in foreclosure).

Compared to last year at the same time, the delinquency rate experienced a 0.4 percent drop from 4 percent. As of February, mortgage delinquency rates have been falling for 26 consecutive months; however, this will likely change due to the pandemic as many homeowners have been let go or furloughed and may be unable to currently afford their mortgage payments.

“Delinquency and foreclosure rates were at a generational low in February as the U.S. unemployment rate matched a 50-year low,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “However, the pandemic-induced closure of nonessential businesses caused the April unemployment rate to spike to its highest level in 80 years and will lead to a rise in delinquency and foreclosure. By the second half of 2021, we estimate a four-fold increase in the serious delinquency rate, barring additional policy efforts to assist borrowers in financial distress.”

“The unemployment rate shot up from under 4 percent pre-pandemic to over 14 percent now,” said National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun in a statement. “The joblessness rate is certain to be higher next month, but soon afterward it will steadily fall. How fast and for how long will be determined by the containment of the virus.”

In February 2020, the U.S. delinquency rates, and their year-over-year changes, were as follows:

– Early-Stage Delinquency (30 to 59 days past due): 1.8 percent, down from 2 percent in February 2019.

– Adverse Delinquency (60 to 89 days past due): 0.6 percent, unchanged from February 2019.

– Serious Delinquency (90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure): 1.2 percent, down from 1.4 percent in February 2019—now the lowest serious delinquency rate since June 2000, when it was also 1.2 percent.

As of February 2020, the rate of homes in foreclosure was 0.4 percent—unchanged from February 2019.

“After a long period of decline, we are likely to see steady waves of delinquencies throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021. The pandemic and its impact on national employment is unfolding on a scale and at a speed never before experienced and without historical precedent,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “The next six months will provide important clues on whether public and private sector countermeasures—current and future—will soften the blow and help us avoid the protracted, widespread foreclosures and delinquencies experienced in the Great Recession.”

February marked the fifth consecutive months of no states posting a YoY increase in the overall delinquency rate. Mississippi and Maine are both down 0.9 percentage points, recording the largest overall declines.

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