New Foreclosures Hit a Record Low

According to an article in economic populist.org, Mortgage Monitor figures from Black Knight Financial Services show there were 595,235 home mortgages in the foreclosure process at the end of April. This equates to 1.17% of all mortgages.

The figure is down from 630,766 at the end of March, which equated to 1.25% of all loans. Compared to April last year, the figure has dropped substantially as the percentage of loans in foreclosure was 1.63%. These figures are for homeowners who have had at least a foreclosure notice served but who haven’t yet had their homes seized. The figures for April are at the lowest percentage since the summer of 2007.

The number of new foreclosure starts dropped to 58,728 in April compared to 72,762 in March. The figures for April last year were 70,400. This is the lowest number of foreclosure starts since April 2005 which was before the financial crisis began.

The data also showed that 2,145,589 mortgages had at least one payment overdue but were not in foreclosure at the end of April. This is 4.24% of all mortgage loans and is up from 4.08% in March, but is down from 4.72% from April last year. Out of those who had fallen behind with their mortgage, 730,179 homeowners were more than 90 days behind on their payments but were not in foreclosure at the end of the month. This is slightly down on the figure for March which was 732,765 mortgages considered to be seriously delinquent. When the number of delinquent mortgages is combined with those in foreclosure, a total of 2,740,824 mortgage loans were either in foreclosure or were late paying at the end of April. This is 5.41% of homeowners with a mortgage, and 2.62% of all homeowners were seriously delinquent or were already in foreclosure at the end of the month.

There is a seasonal pattern as to when people begin to fall behind with their mortgage repayments. It tends to coincide with the holiday shopping season and the seasonal low for serious defaults seems to occur in March. Foreclosures usually begin to hit their seasonal low in April. Although the latest figures were the lowest since April 2005, the numbers of new foreclosure starts are actually the lowest on record, going back to at least 2000.

Astonishingly, the average homeowner who is in foreclosure will have been so for around three years. With this year’s new foreclosures all being less than 120 days old, foreclosures that were started early on in the crisis have not yet been completed.