* Mortgage delinquencies climbed for 1st time since 2013
* New foreclosure rate fell to lowest since late 1980s
(Adds details on latest mortgage delinquencies data)
NEW YORK Feb 15 More U.S. homeowners fell
behind on their mortgage payments in the final quarter of 2016,
raising the level of delinquent home loans from its lowest level
in a decade, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.
At the same time, fewer homeowners saw their loans go into
foreclosure last quarter, sending the level of new foreclosures
to its lowest since the fourth quarter of 1988, the
Washington-based industry group said.
The latest figures on delinquency and foreclosure rates,
which are predictors on defaults, suggested homeowners remain in
solid shape to meet their debt obligations, according to MBA.
"It is not unexpected that delinquencies could eventually
increase off such a low base. We continue to see strong
fundamentals in the overall economy, such as rising home values
and increased employment, which bodes well for the future
performance of" various types of mortgages, Marina Walsh, MBA's
vice president of industry analysis, said in a statement.
Overall household indebtedness "have remained within
historical norms" in the third quarter of 2016 despite a recent
pickup in delinquencies in subprime auto loans, a Federal
Reserve report released on Tuesday showed.
Within the mortgage sector, delinquencies on loans for
one-to-four-unit homes on a seasonally adjusted basis increased
for the first time since 2013 to 4.80 percent of all home loans
outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter.
They were up 28 basis points from the previous quarter when
they hit their lowest level since 2006 and were three basis
points higher than a year earlier.
Seasonally-adjusted delinquency rates on mortgages insured
by the Federal Housing Administration rose to 9.02 percent in
the fourth quarter, up from the third-quarter's 8.30 percent
which was the lowest since 1997. The fourth-quarter delinquency
rate showed no increase on a year-over-year basis.
Delinquencies on home loans backed by the Department of
Veterans Affairs rose to 4.00 percent from the prior quarter's
3.89 percent which was the lowest since 1979. The delinquency
rate in the fourth quarter was 12 basis points lower than a year
The share of loans on homes that began foreclosure in the
fourth quarter of 2016 was 0.28 percent, down 2 basis points
from the previous quarter, and 8 basis points lower than a year
ago. This is the lowest rate of new foreclosures started since
the fourth quarter of 1988.
New Jersey and New York remained the two U.S. states with
the highest percentage of loans in foreclosure at 5.42 percent
and 4.28 percent, respectively. But they continued to show
improvement from the previous quarter, MBA said.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Diane Craft)