Homeowners continued to reduce and/or retire their mortgage debt at an accelerated clip in September according to Black Knight's "first look" at the month's loan performance data. The single month mortality (SMM) rate, an indication of early mortgage payoffs, rose 3.24 percent from August and was up 121 percent compared to September 2018. Low mortgage rates kept the SMM rate elevated despite a seasonal slowdown in payoffs due to home sales.
The delinquency rate ticked up 2.13 percent to a national rate of 3.53 percent in September. The rate, indicating loans that were at least one payment past due but not in foreclosure, was down 11.15 percent year-over-year, the largest annual decline in eight months. There were 1.854 million loans in that category at the end of the reporting period. Seriously delinquent loans, those 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, numbered 443,000, down 1,000 loans since August and 195,000 since the previous September.
The foreclosure inventory, homes in the process of foreclosure, is now just slightly over a quarter of a million homes. The category was reduced by 1,000 in a month and 16,000 (7.68 percent) over the previous 12 months. The share of all mortgaged homes that are in foreclosure is 0.48 percent. Foreclosure starts, however, moved higher, climbing by 8.84 percent from August to 39,400 legal actions.
Non-current loans, including properties in foreclosure number 2.11 million, up 40,000 from August but 211,000 lower than in September 2018. The non-current rate was, as usual, highest in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. The Mississippi rate increased by 1.28 percent on an annual basis to 10.46 percent. Rates in both Louisiana and Alabama have moved significantly lower over the past year and are now at 7.98 percent and 6.88 percent respectively. Those three states also have the highest serious delinquency rates in the county.
Black Knight will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report, which will be published on Nov. 4, 2019.