March saw largest single-month improvement
Black Knight figures show that delinquencies fell by 16.4% in March – the largest single-month drop in 11 years.
“Several factors contributed to particularly strong mortgage performance in March, including the distribution of 159 million stimulus payments totaling more than $376 billion, broader economic improvement leading to nearly a million new jobs and 1.2 million forbearance plans reviewed for extension or removal, resulting in an 11% decline in plan volumes in the last 30 days. Some other key metrics also point to a robust recovery underway,” said Ben Graboske, president of Black Knight Data and Analytics.
Graboske added that the inflow of mortgage delinquencies is steadily improving as the 7.1 million homeowners who have been in COVID-19 forbearance at one point or another got back to performing on their mortgage payments. Around 91.6% of mortgage holders had made their monthly payments in April, up from 91% in March and the biggest share for any month since the onset of the pandemic.
According to Black Knight’s report, the number of borrowers with a single payment past due declined by 34% from February and is now down by half from the same time a year ago. The share of 60-day delinquencies is also now back below pre-pandemic levels and near-record lows. However, the number of Americans 90 or more days past due their mortgage stays nearly five times than what it was before the pandemic.
“While overall sentiment for an economic recovery in 2021 remains robust, mortgage performance is expected to run into seasonal headwinds for most of the remainder of the year, which could marginally dampen overall improvement rates,” Graboske said. “Black Knight will continue to monitor the situation as we move forward.”