Foreclosure starts tumble to 18-year low

by Ryan Smith25 Sep 2019

Foreclosure starts hit an 18-year low in August, according to new data from Black Knight.

There were 36,200 foreclosure starts in August – the lowest single-month total since December of 2000, according to Black Knight. Foreclosure starts were down by 7.65% month over month and down by 23.14% from August of 2018.

The number of loans in active foreclosure inventory fell to 253,000, down by 28,000 from August 2018 and the lowest number since 2005.

The number of loans that were 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure remained steady month over month at 444,000. That’s down by 62,000 from August 2018. The number of loans 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, however, jumped to about 1.8 million, up 6,000 from the prior month and up 4,000 from August 2018.

Prepayment activity – generally a good indicator of refinance activity – rose 5% from July, reaching a three-year high, Black Knight said. The August prepayment rate was up 62% from the same time a year ago and was 2.5 times the 18-year low it hit in January.

“Given a 30-45 day closing window, the month’s prepayment activity reflects June/July interest rates; as rates fell further in August and September, the peak in refinance-driven prepayments is likely still to come,” Black Knight said.

Colorado had the smallest share of non-current mortgages at 1.75%, followed by Oregon (1.85%), Washington (1.92%), Idaho (2%) and California (2.02%).

Mississippi had the largest share of non-current mortgages at 10.31%, followed by Louisiana (7.71%), Alabama (6.67%), West Virginia (6.33%) and Arkansas (6.08%).