The 60-day-plus mortgage borrower delinquency rate dropped 16% on an annual basis to 1.91% at the end of the third quarter, bringing it to the lowest point since the recession.
"Serious mortgage delinquency rates continue to drop to new post-recession lows, indicating there may be opportunities to responsibly expand access," said Joe Mellman, senior vice president and mortgage business leader at TransUnion, in a press release Wednesday.
"We did note that the shape of the delinquency trendline has been flat during the second and third quarters of 2017, suggesting that a natural floor for delinquencies might be forming. However, a similar period of flat delinquencies occurred between the second and fourth quarters of 2016, before they once again began to decline," he added.
The string of year-to-year declines in delinquency rates hasn't been broken since the third quarter of 2010, according to TransUnion. And only one state, Alaska, has seen its delinquencies grow year-over-year due to lower oil prices that affect its economy.
At the same time, the total number of mortgages outstanding in the past two quarters has grown year-to-year for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014, most recently by 1% to 52.7 million.
But average new account balances, a figure that gets measured with a one-quarter lag, declined by 2.4% in the past year to $224,502.
"A higher interest rate environment and market saturation have negatively impacted refinance market share, and we anticipate it to decline even further," Mellman said, commenting on the mortgage origination outlook. "Tight supply, especially for starter homes, will pose some growth headwinds, though a strong economy and a high demand for housing will likely overcome that and lead to growth in home purchase activity."