Historically, mortgage delinquencies in the month of April have risen 85% of the time, but April 2018 bucked that trend as they fell, according to Black Knight. The total delinquency rate dropped 10.17% year-over-year in April and 1.6% from the previous month to 3.67%, its second lowest level in 12 years. This marked the end of seven consecutive months of annual delinquency rate increases, which were onset by the 2017 hurricane season.
The improving delinquency rate was driven by progress made in hurricane-affected areas, in addition to slight delinquency declines in non-impacted regions. Foreclosure starts in particular fell 30% in cities impacted by hurricanes last year, while the number of loans overall in active foreclosure fell to their lowest point since August 2006.
While a healthier economy has also helped better the national delinquency rate, job and income growth still didn’t put a halt to affordability struggles for homebuyers.
Growth in home prices and interest rates caused the average monthly payment for a median-priced home with a 20% down payment to shoot up 14% since the start of 2018, an increase of $150 per month. Though much of the nation is more affordable than long-term norms, seven states are less affordable historically with 12 states nearing the same outcome.
Housing affordability could be in danger of hitting an all-time low point in five years, according to one Black Knight projection.
“In recent years, incomes have been growing at a rate of 4.37% annually, as compared to a 2.75% 25-year average,” said Ben Graboske, executive vice president of Black Knight’s data and analytics division. “Even so, a half percentage point increase in interest rates each year, combined with the current rate of [home price appreciation], would push affordability to an all-time low by 2023.”