Loan performance continued to improve in April, even though Black Knight says mortgage delinquencies have a historic pattern of increasing during that month.  The overall delinquency rate declined 1.6 percent from March to a national rate of 3.67 percent.  That rate is down by 10.17 percent from the previous April. 

Black Knight notes, in its "first look" at the month's loan performance data, that not only did April's improvement buck a trend that has affected the month's numbers 85 percent of the time, it also ended seven months of annual increases, behavior that started with last fall's hurricanes.

Areas in Texas, Florida, and Georgia where Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit drove the improving numbers.  However, over 90,000 mortgages on homes impacted by the storms are still seriously delinquent.

After the April decline there remained 1.885 million mortgages nationwide that were 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure.  Just under 600,000 of those were seriously delinquent, that is 90 or more days past due.  Delinquencies were down 27,000 from March and 187,000 from April 2017 while the improvement in serious delinquencies was 34,000 and 17,000 from the two earlier periods.

The foreclosure inventory, homes that are in some process of foreclosure, fell 2.26 percent to 0.61 percent of all active loans.  The inventory, containing 314,000 homes, was down 7,000 units from March and 119,000 from a year earlier.  The latter represented a 28.41 percent decline.  It was the lowest point for active foreclosures since August 2006.

The highest delinquency rates in April were in Mississippi and Louisiana at 9.34 percent and 7.52 percent respectively.  Florida, Alabama, and West Virginia followed, all with rates ranging from 6.62 to 6.11 percent. Serious delinquencies were highest in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas, but all had rates under 3.0 percent.

Prepayment activity, generally an indicator of refinancing, fell 4.3 percent in April from the previous month and was down slightly from last year's level.

The company will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report. It will be published on June 4.