The only loan performance metric reported by Black Knight Financial Service's December and thus year-end "first look" that rose in 2016 was the prepayment rate. That stat, despite the rapid increase in interest rates over the previous two months, was still 19.08 percent higher than a year earlier although it fell 5.50 percent compared to November. The prepayment rate at the end of the reporting period was 1.36 percent.
The remainder of Black Knight's reporting were all on measures of housing market distress and those shrunk gratifyingly over the course of the year.
The foreclosure inventory rate was down by 30.53 percent compared to the previous December, an improvement Black Knight calls the most in any year on record. The number of loans in active foreclosure declined by more than 206,000 units during the year to 483,000 units and decreased by 15,000 or 3.29 percent since November. Homes in active foreclosure now represent 0.95 percent of all U.S. homes with a mortgage.
Mortgages that were 30 or more days past due declined by 0.91 percent month-over-month and 7.49 percent on an annual basis. Black Knight estimates there are currently 2.25 million non-current mortgages, 180,000 fewer than a year earlier and a delinquency rate of 4.42 percent. Of those non-current mortgages 682,000 are seriously delinquent, more than 90 days past due, down 126,000 from the previous December.
There were 24 percent fewer foreclosure starts compared to December 2015. There were 59,700 properties put into foreclosure in the most recent month.
The total of non-current loans - past due or in foreclosure - was 2.73 million, down 368,000 since the first of last year.
Among states, the highest level of distress continues to be exhibited by Mississippi with an 11.36 percent rate of non-current mortgages. This is, however, down nearly 8 percent from a year earlier. In Louisiana, the level of non-current loans increased by 1.28 percent to 10.03 percent. That state also had the greatest deterioration in loan performance over the last six months with non-current loans rising by 9.24 percent. The other three states with the highest non-current rates were West Virginia (8.16 percent), Alabama (7.98 percent), and New Jersey (7.79 percent.)
The company will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report. December data will be released by February 6, 2017.