Serious Delinquencies Improve, Foreclosure Starts Decline

April brought continued delinquency improvements, with serious delinquencies down to one of their best levels in nearly 20 years. That’s according to new data from ICE, which showed that the national delinquency rate fell to 3.09% in April, the second-lowest level ever recorded. This is only bested by March 2023’s low of 2.92%, and a 22 bps improvement YOY. Serious delinquencies (loans 90+ days past due but not in active foreclosure) fell to their lowest point since August 2005, down 4% from March and 16.8% YOY. At the same time, the number of 30-day delinquencies slipped to an 8-month low, while 60-day delinquencies outperformed the last 10 months. Foreclosure starts also declined 0.8% from March, leading to active foreclosures dipping…

Equity Soars To Record $11 Trillion

The recent surge in home prices pushed U.S. homeowners’ tappable equity to a record $11 trillion. Prices were on a run in March, according to the ICE Home Price Index, up 1.2% and more than 25% above the 25-year average increase. This is the third straight month of above-average gains as stock shortages keep competition for limited homes high. As a result, mortgage holders’ equity shot to a record $16.9T in Q1, $11T of which can be leveraged while retaining a 20% equity cushion, both of which are all-time highs. “We’re still very much in a hole from an inventory perspective, but that deficit has fallen from 50% a year ago to 38% in March. Today, with 3.3 months of…

ICE Reveals “Conversational” Update To MSP System

ICE rolled out a new interface for its mortgage loan servicing system with “conversational” capacities. The MSP Digital Experience (MSP DX) streamlines workflows and increases efficiency for servicing pros by providing “a more intuitive, dynamic and conversational” way to interact with the system. Users can ask the system for what they need using everyday language, saving time and energy otherwise spent sorting through pages of information. “Mortgage escrow is inherently complex, and the technology lift to handle the many moving parts is significant,” said Tim Bowler, President of ICE Mortgage Technology. “But with the introduction of MSP DX we are helping servicers manage the escrow process more efficiently. This will enhance workflow management for servicers and improve the household experience.”…

Analysts Anticipate A “Quieter” Spring Buying Season

Inventory and rate pressures are creating conditions for a “quieter” spring homebuying season. That’s according to HouseCanary’s March Market Pulse Report, which found that while inventory is up 12.6% YOY, total stock remains historically low. In March, net new listings slipped 4.4% YOY. For the entire last 52 weeks, net new listings were down 12.4%. HouseCanary says the decrease in net new listings was driven by a 2.5% drop in new listing volume, plus a 7% increase in removals compared to March 2023. “Over the past month, net new listings and contract volumes have continued to trend at multi-year seasonal lows. The interest rate shock is the biggest factor responsible for sustaining inventory scarcity,” said Jeremy Sicklick, Co-Founder and CEO…

First-Time Buyers Took Out Record Number Of GSE Loans In 2023

First-time homebuyers accounted for a record number of GSE purchase loans in 2023, while originations sunk to new lows, according to ICE’s latest Mortgage Monitor. They made up 55% of agency purchases last year, the highest share ever recorded by ICE in the ten years it has been tracking this metric. “The market in which these folks purchased their first home was one of record house prices, ballooning down payments, rising rates, and elevated DTIs,” Andy Walden, ICE Vice President of Enterprise Research Strategy, said. “Given record exposure to first-time homebuyer loans, it’ll be worth watching the performance of this cohort very closely moving forward, particularly for those invested in 2023 agency MBS.” First-timers and repeat buyers differed greatly in…

FHA, VA Loans Saw Delinquencies Rise In November

Delinquencies rose in November but remain historically low despite some worrying data about FHA and VA loans. That’s according to ICE’s First Look at November Mortgage Performance, which clocked delinquencies at 3.39% last month. This is down 10 bps YOY and remains 64 bps below pre-pandemic levels. Serious delinquencies– loans with missed payments more than 90 days late– increased to 459,000 but are 21% lower than the same time last year. But while loans remain strong overall, FHA delinquencies hit a 9-year high (excluding the immediate aftermath of the pandemic). Early-stage delinquencies for VA loans also surged, reaching their highest non-pandemic levels since 2009. Recently originated mortgages are suffering the most thanks to the high interest rates of late 2023.…

Serious Delinquencies Fell To Lowest Point Since 1999

Serious mortgage delinquencies fell to their lowest point since 1999 in August, but financial pressures could force them up in the future. In August, 2.6% of all U.S. mortgages were in some stage of delinquency, down 0.2% YOY and 0.1% from July 2023, according to CoreLogic’s latest Loan Performance Insights Report. Early-stage delinquencies and adverse delinquencies both increased a modest 0.1% from August 2022, but serious delinquencies declined (-0.3%) to their lowest level in nearly 25 years. Overall, mortgage delinquencies remain near historic lows. CoreLogic’s data reflects the stability of homeowners swimming in record-high equity. After slipping through the end of 2022, home prices shot up once again in mid-2023, giving homeowners unprecedented financial security. With competition for well-priced homes…

Lender Toolkit Launches AI-Driven Income Calculator

Lender Toolkit partnered with income analysis provider Blueprint to launch Prism, an AI-driven income calculator. Prism, which integrates with Encompass by ICE Mortgage Technology, shortens cycle times and increases profitability by streamlining the income process, according to company leaders. Blueprint creates advisories that are automatically uploaded to Prism as loan conditions. If income is used that is outside of the recommended calculations, AI Underwriter generates conditions advising the underwriter. All types of income can be analyzed, including income based on bank statements for self-employed borrowers. Prism then automatically syncs the results with the correct income fields in the borrower’s Uniform Residential Loan Application in Encompass. “At Lender Toolkit, we understand the challenges faced by mortgage lenders—particularly in today’s market, where…

Black Knight Origination Technologies Rebranded To Dark Matter

Black Knight Origination Technologies has rebranded to Dark Matter Technologies after being acquired by Perseus Operating Group. Optimal Blue, Black Knight’s secondary market solutions and actionable data services business, was acquired by Perseus, part of Constellation Software Inc., in July. Dark Matter will remain in Florida and keep key executives. “We’re excited to invest in this industry leader and to bring the impressive product roadmap to life. The leadership, the talented teams, the strong customer relationships — Dark Matter Technologies has everything we look for in an acquisition,” said Tom George, co-president of the Romulus portfolio of Perseus, who led the acquisition with Bonnie Wilhelm, COO of Perseus. The sale of the unit follows Constellation’s acquisition of Black Knight’s loan-origination…

Congresswoman Expresses Concerns About ICE-Black Knight Merger

By KIMBERLEY HAAS As officials at the Federal Trade Commission continue to review the proposed acquisition of Black Knight by Intercontinental Exchange, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee is reiterating her concerns about the merger. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has said the two companies play a dominant role in the technology and data underlying the country’s mortgage markets and “such a monopoly would harm our nation’s consumers and our housing market.” This week, Waters sent a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan offering recommendations for a negotiated settlement agreement, saying there are anti-trust, financial stability, and consumer protection safeguard issues to be considered. “In addition to potentially creating a housing finance conglomerate that would dwarf all…