Real Estate News

Mortgage delinquencies are down across the U.S. — but up in South Florida. Here’s why.

Damaged property litters the side of Overseas Highway in Big Pine Key, Fla., following Hurricane Irma on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
Damaged property litters the side of Overseas Highway in Big Pine Key, Fla., following Hurricane Irma on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. FEMA

Four months after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Keys and worked its way up Florida’s west coast, the scope of the storm’s long-term effects are still coming into focus.

According to the latest monthly Loan Performance Insights Report by the analytics firm CoreLogic, 12.5 percent of mortgages in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area were at least 30 days delinquent in October 2017 — a 4.9 percent increase over October 2016.

South Florida’s uptick in early-stage mortgage delinquencies, defined as 30-59 days past due, belies the national trend. According to CoreLogic’s report, the U.S. rate for early-stage mortgage delinquencies was 2.3 percent in October 2017, up 0.01 percent from October 2016.

“The U.S. rate as a whole continues a downward trend,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “But there are a couple of places that buck that trend. One is Texas and another one is Florida — both states that were hit by hurricanes last year.”

Nothaft said many hurricane victims who fell behind on their mortgage payments will eventually catch up. But the process could take some time.

“We’re going to see some elevated delinquency rates continuing over the next couple of months,” he said. “Too many houses were damaged and had flooding. It takes time for homeowners to rectify their financial situation and can start making payments on their mortgage again.”

The CoreLogic measure includes all homes 30 days or more past due. Overall foreclosure inventory rate in the U.S., or the share of homes in some stage of the foreclosure process, was 5.1 percent — the lowest for any October period since 2006.

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