Wednesday, April 22, 2009

DataQuick: Mortgage Defaults Hit Record in California

by Bill McBride on 4/22/2009 01:38:00 PM

From DataQuick: Golden State Mortgage Defaults Jump to Record High

Lenders filed a record number of mortgage default notices against California homeowners during the first three months of this year, the result of the recession and of lenders playing catch-up after a temporary lull in foreclosure activity ...

A total of 135,431 default notices were sent out during the January- to-March period. That was up 80.0 percent from 75,230 for the prior quarter and up 19.0 percent from 113,809 in first quarter 2008, according to MDA DataQuick.

Last quarter's total was an all-time high for any quarter in DataQuick's statistics, which for defaults go back to 1992. There were 121,673 default notices filed in second quarter 2008 and 94,240 in third quarter 2008, during which a new state law took effect requiring lenders to take added steps aimed at keeping troubled borrowers in their homes.

"The nastiest batch of California home loans appears to have been made in mid to late 2006 and the foreclosure process is working its way through those. Back then different risk factors were getting piled on top of each other. Adjustable-rate mortgages can be good loans. So can low- down-payment loans, interest-only loans, stated-income loans, etcetera. But if you combine these elements into one loan, it's toxic," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The median origination month for last quarter's defaulted loans was July 2006. That's only four months later than the median origination month for defaulted loans a year ago, in first quarter 2008. That suggests a period where underwriting criteria were particularly lax.

Of the 3.7 million home loans made in 2004, less than 1 percent have since resulted in a lender filing a default notice. Of the 3.7 million loans originated in 2005, 4.9 percent have triggered a default notice so far. Of the 3 million in 2006, 8.5 percent have so far resulted in default. A particularly toxic period appears to have been August through November 2006 which had more than a 9 percent default rate. Of the 2.1 million loans made in 2007, it's 4.6 percent - a percentage that's likely to rise significantly during the rest of this year.

The lending institutions with the highest default rates for loans originated in August to November 2006 include ResMAE Mortgage (69.9 percent of loans resulting in a default notice), Master Financial (64.6 percent) and Ownit Mortgage Solutions (63.6 percent). Of the major lenders, IndyMac has a default rate on those loans of 18.9 percent, World Savings 8.0 percent, Countrywide 7.7 percent, Washington Mutual 6.3 percent and Wells Fargo 3.4 percent. Less than 1 percent of the home loans originated in late 2006 by Citibank and Bank of America have since gone into default.
...
While most first quarter 2009 foreclosure activity was still concentrated in affordable inland communities, there are signs that the problem is slowly migrating into other areas. The affordable sub-markets, which represent 25 percent of the state's housing stock, accounted for more than 52.0 percent of all default activity in 2008. Last quarter it fell to 47.5 percent.
emphasis added
There is a lot of interesting data in this report. A few key points:
  • 2009 will probably be another record year for NODs (although the lenders were playing catch-up in Q1)

  • 2006 was a toxic year (probably because that was when house prices peaked or were starting to fall).

  • Defaults are movin' on up into the mid and high priced areas.

  • About two-thirds of the loans that ResMAE and Ownit made in 2006 are in default.

    DataQuick NODs Click on graph for larger image in new window.

    This graph shows the Notices of Default (NOD) by year through 2008 in California from DataQuick.

    With 135,431 default notices filed in Q1 2009 (even with the lenders playing catch-up), 2009 is clearly on pace to break the 2008 record of 424 thousand NODs.