The delinquency rate for mortgages on one- to four-unit residential properties decreased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.4% of all loans outstanding as of the end of the first quarter of this year, a decrease of 18 basis points (bps) from the fourth quarter of 2011 and a decrease of 92 bps from one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. The non-seasonally adjusted delinquency rate decreased 121 bps to 6.94% this quarter from 8.15% last quarter.
The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started during the fourth quarter was 0.96%, down 3 bps from last quarter and down 12 bps from one year ago. The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure.
The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the first quarter was 4.39%, up 1 bps from the fourth quarter and 13 bps lower than one year ago. The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 7.44%, a decrease of 29 bps from last quarter and a decrease of 66 bps from the first quarter of last year.
The combined percentage of loans in foreclosure or at least one payment past due was 11.33% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, a 120 bps decrease from last quarter and 98 bps lower than a year ago. This was the lowest that this measure has been since 2008.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the overall delinquency rate decreased for all loan types except U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loans.
‘Mortgage delinquencies normally fall during the first quarter of the year, but the declines we saw were even greater than the normal seasonal adjustments would predict, so delinquencies are clearly continuing to improve,’ says Michael Fratantoni, the MBA's vice president of research and economics. "Newer delinquencies, loans one payment past due as of March 31, are down to the lowest level since the middle of 2007, indicating fewer new problems we will need to deal with in the future. The percentage of loans three payments or more past due, the loans that represent the backlog of problems that still need to be handled, is down to the lowest level since the end of 2008. Foreclosure starts are at their lowest level since the end of 2007."