The fallout of the credit crisis continues. The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 10.1% percent of all loans outstanding as of the end of the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 59 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2009, and up 94 basis points from one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. The non-seasonally adjusted delinquency rate decreased 106 basis points from 10.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 9.40% this quarter.
The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started during the first quarter was 1.23%, up 3 basis points from last quarter but down 14 basis points 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 4.63%, an increase of five basis points from the fourth quarter of 2009 and 78 basis points from one year ago. This represents another record high. The combined percentage of loans in foreclosure or at least one payment past due was 14.0% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, a decline from 15.0%.
The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 9.54%, a decrease of 13 basis points from last quarter, but an increase of 230 basis points from the first quarter of last year.
“The issue this quarter is that the seasonally adjusted delinquency rates went up while the unadjusted rates went down. Delinquency rates traditionally peak in the fourth quarter and fall in the first quarter and we saw that first quarter drop in the data. The question is whether the drop represents anything more than a normal seasonal decline or a more fundamental improvement. Most importantly, the normal seasonal drop is coming right at the point where we believe delinquencies could potentially be declining and the problem for the statistical models is determining which is which,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist.
“The seasonal models say it is not a fundamental improvement and that the seasonal drop should have been larger to represent a true improvement, hence the increase in the seasonally adjusted numbers. Yet there is reason to believe the seasonally adjusted numbers could be too high. Simply put, fundamental market factors may be having a greater influence on the delinquency rates than is normally the case, but mathematical models have difficulty discerning the difference over a short period of time.
“Since discerning what represents a fundamental improvement versus a simply seasonal improvement is probably more of an art than a mathematical science at this point, the seasonally adjusted numbers should be viewed with a degree of caution.
The seasonally adjusted delinquency rate increased for all loan types with the exception of FHA loans. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the delinquency rate stood at 6.2% for prime fixed loans, 13.5% for prime ARM loans, 25.7% for subprime fixed loans, 29.1% percent for subprime ARM loans, 13.2% for FHA loans, and 8.0% for VA loans. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the delinquency rate fell for all loan types.
The foreclosure starts rate increased for all loan types with the exception of subprime loans. The foreclosure starts rate increased six basis points for prime fixed loans to 0.7%, 17 basis points for prime ARM loans to 2.3%, 18 basis points for FHA loans to 1.5%, and 8 basis points for VA loans to 0.9%. For subprime fixed loans, the rate decreased nine basis points to 2.6% and for subprime ARM loans the rate decreased 39 basis points to 4.3%.
Predicting is much harder than explaining past data. But I believe the odds for better reports on foreclosures and delinquencies over the next 12 months. Delinquencies may well rise. But it is certainly possibly things will get worse. And if the jobs added each month doesn’t average close to 200,000 things will likely not be very good. My guess is we will add over 2.0 million jobs in the USA in the next 12 months but that is far from certain.