Delinquencies are trending down again, with the number of home loans past due by 90 days or more hitting its lowest level in nearly 19 years. 

The national delinquency rate, for all mortgages 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, was 3.09% at the end of April, according to Intercontinental Exchange. It’s the second-lowest figure on record behind a 2.92% rate in March 2023. April’s late payment metrics featuring widespread declines are a contrast from a recent, small spike last month.

Serious delinquencies fell to their lowest level since August 2005, ICE reported. The 417,000 total properties with mortgages 90 days or more past due, but not in foreclosure, fell by 84,000 properties year-over-year.

In all, 1,658,000 homes nationwide are late on their mortgage payments. However, the number of borrowers who missed a single payment fell by 30,000, while those at least 60 days late fell by 6,000, a 10-month low. 

Private mortgage insurers cited homeowners’ rising levels of equity as reason for delinquencies which have stayed relatively quiet in the past two quarters. Despite nearly $17 trillion in equity, Attom Data Solutions recently reported an uptick in the number of properties underwater on their loans.

Other reports have noted upticks in delinquencies for segments such as non-qualified mortgages and Department of Veterans Affairs-backed loans. Late payments for VA loans shot up to 4.66% in the first quarter amid a foreclosure moratorium. 

Delinquency cures were down in April for both early and late-stage delinquency, ICE noted. At the same time, the inflow of new 30-day late payments was healthier than in March. 

Foreclosure starts were up 4% annually, and sales were up 1.5% in April, with 5,900 transactions. ICE said the sales figure remains roughly half of pre-pandemic norms. Altogether, the foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate continues to recede to just 0.37% in April. 

Prepayments shot up to their highest level in eight months, and are up 18% from the same time last year, according to ICE. The firm explained the rise to a 0.52% national rate due to the spring homebuying season despite affordability challenges.

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