The mortgage delinquency rate among U.S. homeowners has just seen its largest single-month increase in history, according to Black Knight (NYSE: BKI).
The April delinquency rate of 6.45% was more than twice that of March and nearly three times the largest single-month surge previously recorded in late 2008 as the Great Recession was taking hold.
In its statement on Thursday, May 21, the Jacksonville, Florida-based real estate analytics firm said an estimated 3.6 million homeowners were past due on their mortgages on April 30, (including roughly 211,000 in active foreclosure), the most since January 2015.
"That's an increase of 1.6 million since March, also the largest single-month jump on record," the company said. "This number includes both homeowners past due on mortgage payments who are not in forbearance as well as those in forbearance plans and who did not make an April mortgage payment."
The highest rate by state was recorded in Nevada, which jumped more than 5 percentage points in a month to a nearly 8% delinquency rate, Black Knight said. That follows a report from another real estate analytics firm, CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), that not one state had recorded an increase in delinquency rates in February for the fifth straight month.
Record lows to record highs
The surge came after a long run of record low delinquencies. CoreLogic reported earlier this month that delinquency rates in February had dropped for the 26th straight month nationally.
CoreLogic also said that the foreclosure rate of 0.4% was the lowest since at least January 1999. Now, that firm is predicting a spike in delinquencies that extends well into next year.
"Delinquency and foreclosure rates were at a generational low in February as the U.S. unemployment rate matched a 50-year low," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.
"However, the pandemic-induced closure of nonessential businesses caused the April unemployment rate to spike to its highest level in 80 years and will lead to a rise in delinquency and foreclosure," Nothaft said. "By the second half of 2021, we estimate a four-fold increase in the serious delinquency rate, barring additional policy efforts to assist borrowers in financial distress."