BUSINESSREAL ESTATE Early signs more homeowners are missing mortgage payments

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Early signs are emerging that the pandemic and recession are affecting the home mortgage market.

The share of U.S. homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments rose in March by the largest share in seven years, according to a new report by CoreLogic.

But mortgage delinquency and home foreclosure rates in March remained near record lows in Dallas-Fort Worth and nationwide, CoreLogic said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shocked our economic system and led to unprecedented job loss, reducing the ability of affected families to make their monthly mortgage payments,” Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, said in the report. “The latest forecast from the CoreLogic Home Price Index shows prices declining in 41 states through April 2021, potentially erasing home equity and increasing foreclosure risk.”

Foreclosures are near 20-year lows. In the D-FW area, only 0.2% of homes were in foreclosure in March — unchanged from a year earlier and the same as in December.

Nationwide, 0.4% of home mortgages were in foreclosure in March.

CoreLogic said that 3.7% of D-FW homeowners with loans had missed at least one mortgage payment in March — the same as in December and slightly less than in March 2019. Only 1.2% of D-FW mortgages were “seriously delinquent.”

Looking at major Texas metros, Houston had the largest percentage of home loans with late payments at 4.9%. And in Austin, only 2.4% of homeowners had missed at least one payment.

During the worst of the recession in 2010, more than 5% of Dallas-area mortgages were seriously delinquent and about 1.5% of D-FW loans were in foreclosure.

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Most housing analysts anticipate that home loan delinquencies and foreclosure rates will rise later this year.

Almost 5 million Americans have taken loan payment forbearance because of the pandemic. Those loans are not counted as delinquent.

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