Mortgage Lates Hit New High

December 22, 2009 No Comments »

late payment

Mortgages at least 30 days delinquent hit a record high 7.91 percent last month, up from 7.76 percent in October and 7.65 percent a month earlier, according to credit bureau Equifax.

The record delinquency rate compares to 5.83 percent a year ago and 3.93 percent in November 2007.

“The story of 2009 continues to be one of consumer retrenchment and credit tightness as people strive to pay down debt or are forced to abandon it, and lenders more aggressively manage risk in their portfolios,” said Dann Adams, president of Equifax’s U.S. Consumer Information Solutions, in a press release.

I suppose the good news is that consumers have reduced their debt by more than five percent, or $575 billion, from a year ago, though perhaps not voluntarily.

First mortgage debt has dropped 5.4 percent and the loan origination/availability of home equity lines of credit (HELOC) has been greatly reduced.

Year to date, 761,000 new lines of credit have been opened, a 47 percent decline from a year earlier, when 1.5 million new HELOCs had been originated.

Home equity lines have also increasingly been going to the most creditworthy borrowers, with 81 percent of those who received one in September considered low-risk (740 credit score and above), compared with just 66 percent a year earlier.

The average credit line of a HELOC has also dropped 25 percent over the past two years, from $105,000 to $79,000 today, reflecting both dropping home values and reduced risk appetite.

The amount of credit available to consumers via HELOCs is now an estimated $68 billion lower than it was during the September 2008 peak.

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