New delinquencies and foreclosure starts continued to fall in January, but increases in foreclosure processing and sales were not enough to offset swelling foreclosure inventories or lengthening foreclosure timelines. In fact, the average loan in foreclosure has not made a payment in over 500 days, according to Lender Processor Services' February Mortgage Monitor report.
A slight uptick in the number of mortgages delinquent 90 days or more registered by Lender Processor Services in January was caused by lenders transitioning loans out of foreclosure back into the se riously delinquent category, not new delinquencies. Foreclosure starts actually fell 11.4 percent.
Delinquency rates in January increased for the first time since May 2010 by .8 percent over December but the growth was concentrated in the 90 days plus category, which rose 1.2 percent. New delinquencies fell for the third month in a row. All delinquent mortgages are 18.8 percent below last year, according to LPS monthly mortgage monitor and they are about 2.1 times the historical average.
However, as new problem loan rates continue to improve and all states have experienced significant 12 month declines in new seriously delinquent loan inventory, foreclosure inventory still increased. Inventories are now 7.8 times historical levels and rising. Foreclosure to REO (or other involuntary liquidation) increased significantly in January following the end of the Robo-gate induced moratoria, but still are below pre-moratoria levels.
Despite the increase in processing activity, timelines from foreclosure to REO lengthened and contributed to the rise in foreclosure inventory. Most of the properties in the foreclosure inventory today have been in the foreclosure pipeline for more than a year, whey delinquency rates were significantly higher. Almost 30 percent of loans in foreclosure have not made a payment in over 2 years, according to LPS.
States with loans having the longest average number of days in delinquency are New York (644), Florida (638), New Jersey (580), Hawaii (563), Maine (551) and Connecticut (532). All are judicial states, where foreclosures require a court order.
Inventories remain under pressure due to a low volume of foreclosure sale activity. Though foreclosure sale volume increased in January, it remains very low with foreclosure starts outnumbering sales 3:1. Foreclosure starts remain almost 3 times the level of foreclosure sales.