ATLANTA (7/3/13)--Year-to-date home-finance write-offs through May totaled $69.7 billion--a five year low and more than a 23% drop from $90.8 billion for the same period in 2012, according to Equifax's latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report.
The total is nearly 45% lower than the $126-billion high set in the first five months of 2010, said Equifax in a press release.
Non-home finance write-offs totaled $33.9 billion for the period, a 3% increase over the $32.8 billion for the same time in 2012.
Home finance 30-day delinquency rates decreased for each type of loan from 2012 to 2013 by:
First mortgage loans: More than 22% (to 6.40% from last year's 8.26%);
Home equity revolving loans: More than 22%--to 2.67% from 3.43% last year; and
Home equity installment loans: 18%, to 5.24% from last year's 6.39%.
"Improving payment behavior and decreasing delinquencies has brought some stability to the home-finance sector," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts.
"While there is still concern over the high volume of existing severely delinquent loans, otherwise known as the shadow inventory, rising home values are bringing more and more borrowers into positive equity and decreasing the likelihood that they will fall into trouble."
She noted that low mortgage rates, which recently began rising to 4% on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, have supported strong refinance activity and pushed affordability to new highs.