There was a modest decline in hurricane-related delinquent mortgages in February, a sign that there are lingering problem in the affected markets.

Nationwide, the 30-day delinquency rate was 4.3%, down 21 basis points from January but up 210 basis points from February 2017, according to the Black Knight First Look report. There were nearly 2.2 million homes where the borrower was 30 days or more late with their payments as of Feb. 28. That is a decline of 4,000 from January but an increase of 63,000 from February 2017.

The driving factor for the year-over-year increase was Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Hurricane-related delinquencies fell by 5% from January, Black Knight said. But in January there was a 17% month-to-month decline in the percentage of hurricane-related defaults.

Without the hurricanes, 30-day-plus delinquencies would have been down 76,000 from last year rather than up by 63,000, Black Knight said.

Seriously delinquent properties

There are now 697,000 seriously delinquent properties, defined as 90 days or more past due but not yet in foreclosure, with 128,000 of them located in Texas, Florida and Georgia.

Back in September, after Harvey struck Texas, a Black Knight analysis predicted 160,000 borrowers could become 90 days or more late on their mortgage payments as a result of the storm.

In November, there were 666,000 seriously delinquent loans, of which 77,000 entered that status because of the storms.

Florida has the highest percentage of loans 90 or more days delinquent, at 3.84%, followed by Mississippi at 3.35%, Louisiana at 2.6%, Texas at 2.27% and Alabama at 2.13%.

When looking at the states that had the largest percentage of loan performance deterioration in the past six months, Florida was at the top with 57.33% more noncurrent loans now. Texas was next at 12.74% and Georgia was fifth on the list at 6.46%.

The seriously delinquent inventory declined by 10,000 from January but is up by 56,000 compared with February 2017.

There were 46,700 foreclosure starts in February, down 25% from January and 19% from one year prior.

The inventory of properties in foreclosure but not yet sold totaled 331,000, a reduction of 6,000 from January and of 139,000 from February 2017.