Monday, August 24, 2009

Fitch: "Dramatic" Decrease in Cure Rates for Delinquent Mortgage Loans

by Bill McBride on 8/24/2009 12:04:00 PM

These are very important numbers ...

Press Release from Fitch: Fitch: Delinquency Cure Rates Worsening for U.S. Prime RMBS (ht BURN, Ron Wallstreetpit)

While the number of U.S. prime RMBS loans rolling into a delinquency status has recently slowed, this improvement is being overwhelmed by the dramatic decrease in delinquency cure rates that has occurred since 2006, according to Fitch Ratings. An increasing number of borrowers who are 'underwater' on their mortgages appear to be driving this trend, as Fitch has also observed.

Delinquency cure rates refer to the percentage of delinquent loans returning to a current payment status each month. Cure rates have declined from an average of 45% during 2000-2006 to the currently level of 6.6%. ...

'Recent stability of loans becoming delinquent do not take into account the drastic decrease in delinquency cure rates experienced in the prime sector since the peak of the housing market,' said [Managing Director Roelof Slump]. 'While prime has shown the most precipitous decline, rates have dropped in other sectors as well.'

In addition to prime cure rates dropping to 6.6%, Alt-A cure rates have dropped to 4.3%, from an average of 30.2%, and subprime is down to 5.3% from an average of 19.4%. 'Whereas prime had previously been distinct for its relatively high level of delinquency recoveries, by this measure prime is no longer significantly outperforming other sectors,' said Slump.

... Furthermore, up to 25% of loans counted as cures are modified loans, which have been shown to have an increased propensity to re-default.

... 'As income and employment stress has spread, weaker prime borrowers become more likely to become delinquent in their loan payments and are less likely to become current again,' said Slump.

Regardless of aggregate roll-to-delinquent behavior, it will be difficult to argue that the market has stabilized or that performance has improved, until there is a concurrent increase in cure rates. This is especially true in the prime sector, which remains performing many times worse than historic averages. Prime 60+ delinquencies have more than tripled in the past year, from $9.5 billion to $28 billion total, or roughly $1.6 billion a month.
emphasis added
This really puts the recent rise in delinquencies in perspective. Look at this graph from MBA Forecasts Foreclosures to Peak at End of 2010

MBA Prime Delinquency and Foreclosure Rate Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the delinquency and in foreclosure rates for all prime loans.

Prime loans account for all 78% of all loans.

Back in the 2000 to 2006 period, 45% of those delinquencies cured. Now, according to Fitch, only 6.6% cure - and a large percentage of those "cures" are modifications - and there is a large redefault rate on those loans.

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