While prepayment rates have plummeted since last year they did show some signs of life in April Black Knight Financial Services said today.  While their "First Look" at mortgage data for the month show these rates down 54.47 percent compared to April 2013 the rate did rise 8.75 percent from March to a Monthly Prepayment Rate of 0.87 percent.  This was the third consecutive monthly increase.  'Prepayment' refers to how quickly a mortgage is being retired for any reason, but correlates most directly with refinance demand.

Aside from what Black Knight termed a seasonal increase in the early delinquency numbers and a slight bump in foreclosure sales, distressed loan data showed continued improvement.  While the number of properties nationwide in the process of foreclosure remains slightly over one million, the foreclosure inventory dropped by 54,000 in March and is 572,000 below the level one year earlier.  The percentage of properties with mortgages in the foreclosures inventory was 2.02 in April, down 5 percent from March and 36.13 percent compared to the same month in 2013. Foreclosure sales represented 1.96 percent of loans that were 90 or more days delinquent, an increase of 7.17 percent from March and a decrease of 11.41 percent on an annual basis.   

Foreclosure starts dropped again and are now 38.2 percent below where they were in April 2013.   There were 78,000 starts during the month, a -10.56 change from March.

There were 2.82 million mortgage loans that were 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure in April.  This was 51,000 more than in March but a decrease of 290,000 from April 2013.  The delinquency rate was up 1.84 percent month-over-month but 9.5 percent lower than a year earlier.  The April delinquency rate was 5.62 percent.   Of those delinquent loans, 1.19 million were more than 90 days past due but not in foreclosure, a decline of 12,000 from March and 207,000 from a year earlier. 

The combined total of loans that were at least 30 days delinquent or in foreclosure (non-current rate) was 3.84 million, down 3,000 from March and 862,000 from April 2013.  States with the highest non-current rates were Mississippi (13.81 percent), New Jersey (12.87 percent), Florida (11.69 percent), New York (11.01 percent), and Louisiana (10.75 percent).

The five states that have shown the greatest improvement in their non-current rates over the last six months with improves ranging from 20.2 percent to 16.5 percent are Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Arizona, and California.  The non-current rate deteriorated between 6.6 and 7.2 percent during that period in Louisiana, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Black Knight will provide a more in-depth look at this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report which will be published in early June.