December's serious delinquency rate hit an 11-year low for the month

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Though early-stage mortgage delinquencies inched up in December, serious delinquency and foreclosure inventory rates declined on an annual basis, according to CoreLogic's Loan Performance Insights Report.

Early-stage delinquencies ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 2.3%, but the serious delinquency rate, describing mortgages 90 or more days past due (including foreclosures), dipped from 2.3% to 2.1% year-over-year in December. This was the lowest serious delinquency rate for the month of December since 2006.

The share of mortgages 60-89 days past due also declined 0.1 percentage points to 0.8%

Regardless of these changes, the overall delinquency rate of 5.3% in December 2017 remained unchanged from the percentage of mortgages in some stage of delinquency in December 2016.

Despite the national trend, natural disasters continued to have negative effects on delinquency rates of affected areas.

The Sonoma and Napa county wildfires that began on Oct. 8 caused two- and three-month delinquency rates to spike in these regions. Last year's hurricanes were also reflected in delinquency rates.

"In Sonoma and Napa counties, both 30-to-60 day and 60-to-90 day delinquent transition rates in December were more than double what they had averaged the prior year. Likewise, neighborhoods affected by hurricanes have seen a jump in transition rates in the months immediately following. These natural disasters have stalled or reversed the decline in 30-to-119 day delinquency rates that we had seen previously," Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a press release.

In the Houston and Miami areas, serious delinquency rates doubled between September and December, and quadrupled in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico.

In November, delinquency rates were also up sharply in natural disaster affected areas.

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Mortgage defaults Foreclosures Hurricane Harvey Hurricane Irma CoreLogic Texas Florida Puerto Rico California