Foreclosures are at their lowest level since early 2008 as the performance of first-lien mortgages steadily improves, according to a report released Thursday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
The number of mortgages in the foreclosure process dropped to 744,369 in the second quarter, according to the OCC’s latest mortgage metrics report. That’s down 39.8% from a year ago and the lowest level since the first quarter of 2008. “This decline is attributable to a reduction in the number of newly initiated foreclosures from a year ago and decrease in the number of significantly delinquent mortgages,” the report stated.
The number of completed foreclosures also took a dive, falling 22.2% from a year ago to 79,960.
“Factors contributing to the reduction in foreclosure activity include improved economic conditions, aggressive foreclosure prevention assistance, regulatory actions, and transfer of loans to servicers outside of the federal banking system,” the report stated.
As foreclosure activity fell, overall mortgage performance improved. At the end of the second quarter, 90.6% of all mortgages were “current and performing,” up from 90.2% at the end of Q1 and 88.7% a year earlier.
Meanwhile, there was a decrease in the number of seriously delinquent mortgages – those 60 or more days past due or those held by bankrupt borrowers who were 30 or more days past due. Seriously delinquencies accounted for only 3.8% of all mortgages, down from 4% at the end of the first quarter and 4.4% a year prior. Early-stage delinquencies, however, were up. Mortgages that were 30-59 days past due increased to 2.9%, up 11.6% from the previous quarter.