Severely delinquent balances among first mortgages are on the decline according to Equifax's May National Consumer Credit Trends Report. While still elevated relative to historic levels, the May 2012 total of $450 billion in delinquent balances represents a 37 percent decline from the peak of more than $700 billion in January 2010. Of note is that 70 percent of outstanding delinquencies among first mortgages still remain tied to loans opened between 2005-2007. The greatest level of change was seen among severely delinquent non-agency first mortgage loans (90-plus days past due or in foreclosure), which fell 45 percent to $320 billion in May 2012 from its peak of $580 billion in January 2010. By comparison, agency-sourced (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA) first mortgages reported as severely delinquent declined just nine percent to $130 billion in May 2012 after peaking at $142 billion in January 2010. Similar reductions in severely delinquent totals were seen among home equity installment loans, which declined 31 percent from their peak in February 2011 ($880 million) to May 2012 ($615 million).
"That severe mortgage delinquencies are trending downward is not surprising given generally improving economic conditions," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. "What is surprising is that even with the foreclosure moratoriums and the slow resolution of foreclosure backlogs, the downward trend has been a steady, consistent drumbeat of recovery,". "If this pace continues, we expect the volume of severely delinquent mortgage balances to return to mid-2007 levels by the end of 2014."
Other highlights from the most recent data include:
►Home equity revolving balances fell 18 percent from their peak of $680 billion in May 2009 to $560 billion in May 2012.
►Total credit limits among home equity revolving accounts have declined 27 percent to $1.02 trillion in May 2012 since their peak in March 2008 ($1.30 trillion).
►Year-to-date total mortgage write-offs through May 2012 are down 28 percent from their 2010 peak. Home mortgage balances are down 12.5 percent in May 2012 from their record-high of $9.8 trillion set in Oct. 2008. Total mortgage debt outstanding now sits at $8.6 trillion.