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Mortgage Delinquencies Soar

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Last week we reported on a looming wave of evictions on the horizon as the economic consequences of the coronavirus-induced government economic shutdowns begin to rear their ugly heads. Now for more gloomy news, there are also signs of trouble in the mortgage markets.

Mortgage delinquencies soared at a record pace in April. And that was toward the beginning of the pandemic’s economic impact.

According to property data and analytics company CoreLogic, the share of all mortgages that were past due, but less than 30 days, soared to 3.4% of all mortgages. That’s the highest level since 1999. During the Housing Bust, the rate peaked in November 2008 at 2%

Mortgages from 30 to 59 days past due surged to 4.2% of all mortgages. This is also the highest level since 1999.

The overall delinquency rate, 30-plus days, jumped to 6.1%, up from 3.6% in April last year.

As of April, there wasn’t much change in the rate of longer delinquencies from 60 to 89 days past due or in serious delinquencies 90 days-plus, but this is like a wave rolling in from the ocean.

“With home prices expected to drop 6.6% by May 2021, thus depleting home equity buffers for borrowers, we can expect to see an increase in later-stage delinquency and foreclosure rates in the coming months,” CoreLogic said in its report.

In fact, there are signs the wave could turn into a tsunami. Mortgages in forbearance and that didn’t miss a payment before entering forbearance count as “current.” Just over 8% of all mortgages in the US are currently in forbearance, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That’s about 4.1 million loans. And unless they missed a payment before entering forbearance, they don’t count in the spiking delinquency rates.

The overall delinquency rate rose in every state, but there were some obvious hotspots in terms of the percentage-point increase in year-on-year delinquency rate, according to data compiled by WolfStreet.

  • New York: +4.7 percentage points
  • New Jersey: +4.6 percentage points
  • Nevada: +4.5 percentage points
  • Florida: +4.0 percentage points
  • Hawaii: +3.7 percentage points.

This should cast further doubt on the notion of a quick “v-shaped” recovery. It’s not just the problems in the housing market. We’ve reported on the number of small business owners who don’t think they’ll survive, the increasing number of over-leveraged zombie companies, and the tsunami of defaults and bankruptcies on the horizon. Given the deep wounds inflicted on the economy by the shutdowns, we should expect a quick bounceback even with a vaccine. As we’ve said over-and-over again, curing the coronavirus won’t cure the economy.

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