A new tool to measure the nation's largest consumer credit market came on-line this week. The new Mortgage Performance Trends tool, launched by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has the capacity to track the delinquencies in the $10 trillion mortgage market both locally and nationwide.

CFPB said that knowing when consumers have fallen behind in their mortgage payments is important to assessing the health of mortgage markets nationwide and locally.  The new tool tracks those rates and currently shows delinquency rates at their lowest points since the financial crisis.  In addition to national data, the online tool features interactive charts and graphs with data on mortgage delinquency rates for 50 states and the District of Columbia at the county and metro-area level. 

Delinquencies point to the overall health, not only of the mortgage market but of the overall economy. Solid job growth, higher wages, and higher home values generally lead to fewer missed or late mortgage payments. 

CFPB's tool measures the delinquency rate on an early/mid-term basis, loans where one or two payments have been missed and the loans are 30 to 89 days past due, and as serious delinquencies, loans that are more than 90 days overdue.  The earlier rate can act as an early warning sign of problems that can impact the overall economy, the serious delinquency rate reflects more severe economic distress.

There are interactive charts and maps that track monthly changes for both the early and serious delinquencies starting in 2008 when the financial crisis was emerging. The data reflected in the tool shows that current rates of serious delinquencies peaked at 4.9 percent in 2010 and as of March 2017 had fallen to 1.1 percent. Colorado and Alaska have the fewest serious delinquencies at present, 0.5 percent each, while Mississippi and New Jersey have rates of 2.1 percent. Early stage delinquencies are also highest in Mississippi and lowest in Washington State.

The Mortgage Performance Trends Tool also indicates that those states hit hardest by the housing crisis have steadily recovered; California and Arizona soared to peak serious delinquency rates of 7.5 and 7.6 percent respectively and both now have rates below 1 percent. Even Nevada, where the rate was once 10.7 percent, is now near the national average at 1.2 percent.

The tool's information comes from the National Mortgage Database, a joint venture of CFPB and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  The database, launched in 2012, supports policymaking and research, and helps regulators better understand emerging mortgage and housing market trends. It includes information spanning the life of a mortgage loan from origination through servicing and captures a variety of borrower characteristics. It is a nationally representative sample of all outstanding, closed-end, first-lien mortgages for one-to-four family residences. 

CFPB stresses that the tool is designed to protect the personal identity of mortgage borrowers. Before the CFPB or the FHFA receive data for the National Mortgage Database, all records are stripped of identifying information such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. 

The new Mortgage Performance Trends tool can be found at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/mortgage-performance-trends