The US ended 2018 with the lowest delinquency rate since at least the beginning of this century.  Black Knight says the December rate of 3.88 percent is an increase of 4.71 percent from the previous month, which it terms a seasonal uptick, and is 17.55 percent lower than at the end of 2017.  It is the lowest rate since Black Knight first tracked it in 2000.  In all there were 2,013,000 mortgages that were 30 or more days past due at the end of December but were not yet in foreclosure.  This is 88,000 more than were past due a month earlier but just shy of 400,000 fewer on an annual basis.

Of non-current loans there were just over a half-million loans that were seriously delinquent, that is 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, 215,000 fewer than a year earlier.

The number of foreclosure starts rose 2.4 percent from November to 46,300 and were 4.0 percent higher than the prior December.  The company notes the start rate was artificially low in December 2017 because of foreclosure moratoria imposed after a series of destructive hurricanes in the South.

The foreclosure inventory rate rose 1.19 percent but was down almost 20 percent year-over-year. There are 271,000 homes in the process of foreclosure, an increase of 3,000 from November but 80,000 fewer than at the end of 2017.

Non-current loans, including loans in foreclosure, totaled 2,283,000. 

The states with the highest non-current rates are Mississippi, at 10.09 percent, Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, and Arkansas at 6.29 percent.  Despite the elevated rates, all five states have improved on their delinquency rates since last December.

Black Knight also reports that the monthly prepayment rate rose 0.3 percent in December to 0.66 percent.  The rate, which is an indication of refinance activity, is down 29 percent from a year earlier.

Black Knight will provide more in-depth information on December's loan performance in its Mortgage Monitor. It will be published by February 4.