Last year saw a total of 576,000 foreclosure starts, the lowest level in 18 years, according to new data from Black Knight Inc
All four of the major foreclosure-focused data metrics—delinquencies, serious delinquencies, active foreclosures and total non-current inventory—closed out 2018 below the 2000-2005 pre-recession averages for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. Black Knight noted the national foreclosure rate and active foreclosure inventory were below their respective long-term norms and, if the current rate of decline continues, both could decline to near-record lows by the end of this year. Foreclosure sales totaled 175,000 in 2018, their lowest level in more than 18 years.
“The high credit quality and corresponding lower risk we’ve seen in the post-crisis origination market for the better part of a decade continues to pay dividends in terms of mortgage performance,” said Ben Graboske, President of Black Knight’s Data & Analytics division. “In addition, the low interest rate environment we’ve enjoyed for so long had, until very recently, resulted in a refinance-heavy blend of originations for years. Refis, as a whole, tend to outperform their purchase mortgage counterparts, which has boosted mortgage performance as well. On top of that, we’ve had the benefit of strong employment and housing markets, which have helped the vast majority of homeowners meet their debt obligations, while those few who may have faced a possible default have gained enough equity to be able to sell rather than face foreclosure.”