US Economy So Healthy One In Ten Mortgages Delinquent (New Record), One In Twenty In Foreclosure

From Goldman's Jan Hatzius.

Delinquencies and Foreclosures Rise Again

Data just released by the Mortgage Bankers' Assn show that more than one-tenth of all US mortgages are delinquent, a new record high. Homes in foreclosure edge up slightly as well. One caveat: the increases are driven by seasonal adjustment, which should probably be taken with a grain of salt given the huge shifts in this sector over the past few years.

Mortgage delinquencies: 10.06% in Q1 (Q4: 9.47%).
Mortgages in foreclosure: 4.63% in Q1 (Q4: 4.58%).

KEY POINTS:

1. The Mortgage Bankers' Assn Q1 report shows a further rise in delinquent mortgages, even in the 30-60 day range, somewhat surprising given the improvement in the economy and labor market in recent months. The increases are spread among both fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages, both prime and subprime; only FHA mortgages saw a lower delinquency rate than the prior quarter. One issue here is that the delinquency figures incorporate a positive seasonal adjustment, which should probably be taken with a grain of salt given the seismic shifts in this sector over the past few years (in fact, the MBA itself notes this issue; see http://www.mbaa.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/72906.htm). Before seasonal adjustment, the figures generally show improvement.

2. New foreclosures continue at a substantial rate of 1.23%, the 9th consecutive quarter where at least 1% of mortgages went into foreclosure. The total inventory of foreclosures (non-seasonally adjusted) rose to 4.63% of the stock of housing in the MBA's survey (just over 2 million homes in foreclosure).