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Foreclosures fall in hurricane-affected areas

Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico — the areas most affected by a string of devastating storms during last year's hurricane season — are still experiencing significant foreclosures and delinquencies. The numbers in these affected states are declining, however.

Through May, an estimated 119,000 storm-affected properties were in some form of delinquency, down from a high of more than 330,000, Black Knight reported this week. A total of 116,600 of these properties were seriously delinquent — or at least 90 days past due.

hurricanepicAmong these were 52,400 delinquent properties in Florida and Georgia as a result of Hurricane Irma; 43,800 in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria; and 22,900 in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

The “hurricane effect” has pushed up the national delinquency rate by an estimated 15 basis points to 3.64 percent in May, Black Knight said. Generally speaking, however, all the recent data has pointed to a decline in foreclosures and delinquencies near or lower than the averages prerecession.

Black Knight said there were 255,000 foreclosure starts year to date in 2018 through May, down 14 percent for the same five-month period a year earlier. The company said if delinquencies continue to decline at the same rate in the hurricane-affected states, delinquencies and foreclosures “would fall to the lowest level this century within the next 18 months.”

Distressed properties trend down 

CoreLogic this week reported data for April indicating that mortgage-delinquency rates were trending down, with only the hurricane-affected areas the exception.

"Job growth, home-price appreciation, and full-doc underwriting have pushed delinquency and foreclosure rates to the lowest point in more than a decade," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. Nothaft noted the U.S. economy has added about 2.4 million jobs over a year, helping to push delinquency and foreclosure rates toward record lows.

The foreclosure inventory, or the percentage of homes in some stage of foreclosure, was at 60 basis points, down 10 basis points year over year. The distressed inventory has been stable since August 2017, and at the lowest level since June 2006, according to CoreLogic.

The serious delinquency rate stood at 1.9 percent in April, the lowest for that month since 2007, CoreLogic said. Only the hurricane-affected areas have seen notable gains in the number of mortgages that are seriously delinquent. As of April, Florida’s serious delinquency rate stood at 4.3 percent, 1.5 percentage points higher than the April 2017 rate. In Texas, the rate was 2.2 percent, 50 basis points higher than a year earlier, CoreLogic reported. 


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