The percentage of Winston-Salem-area homeowners late on their mortgage payments dropped slightly in September, but still near a 4½-year high, CoreLogic reported Tuesday.
The rate was 6.7% in the Winston-Salem metropolitan statistical area of Forsyth, Davidson, Davie, Stokes and Yadkin counties. The rate was 6.8% in August and 4.7% in September 2019.
The report focuses on the delinquent-mortgage market, with “delinquent” defined as being at least 30 days overdue on payment.
The previous recent high mark was 7.3% in January 2016.
The delinquency rate continued to rise for mortgage payments more than 90 days past due, now up to 4.1% in September, compared with 3.7% in August and 1.4% in September 2019. Both figures include houses in the foreclosure pipeline.
For the Greensboro-High Point MSA of Guilford, Randolph and Rockingham counties, the 30-day delinquency rate was 7.1 in September, up from 4.5% a year earlier. The delinquency rate of more than 90 days was 5.1% in September, up from 1.6% a year ago.
The national real-estate research company had cautioned in June that the COVID-19-related economic shutdowns would cause payment delinquencies during the pandemic. Some lenders have offered forbearance to homeowners whose job was eliminated or furloughed.
The federal CARES Act provided forbearance for borrowers with federally backed mortgage loans who were economically impacted by the pandemic.
CoreLogic said borrowers in a forbearance program who have missed a mortgage payment are included in its delinquency statistics, even if the loan servicer has not reported the loan as delinquent to credit repositories.
As a result, CoreLogic said early-stage delinquencies (defined as 30 to 59 days past due) reached their highest level since 1999 during June.
“Although delinquencies remain high, it’s clear the economy has passed an initial stress test," said Frank Martell, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.
"High home-equity balances and structural protections put in place as a result of the Great Recession contributed to surviving this test."
Before the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic began to be felt in early March, economists were saying housing markets and lenders were benefiting from more homeowners being able to stay current on their monthly mortgage payments, in part because of refinancing to lower mortgage rates.
Officials with the Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors have cautioned that information about delinquency and/or underwater loans can affect the real-estate market by undermining consumer confidence, causing some hesitation in buying or trying to sell a house now and prompting an overreaction.
On Thursday, Attom Data Solutions reported that the Winston-Salem area had just 19 foreclosure filings during November, down 90% from 191 a year ago,
By comparison, there were 36 filings in October and 19 in September.
During November, there were 10 filings in Forsyth County, four in Davidson County, two each in Davie and Yadkin counties and one in Stokes County.
By comparison, the Greensboro-High Point MSA had 41 filings during November, down 81.9% from 227 a year ago, but down from 61 in October.