Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lawler: Number of Seriously-Delinquent FHA-Insured SF Loans Jumped Again in January

by Bill McBride on 2/21/2012 10:03:00 AM

From economist Tom Lawler: Number of Seriously-Delinquent FHA-Insured SF Loans Jumped Again in January; HUD Secretary “Fiddles” as FHA Burns

Data from the FHA’s Neighborhood Watch Early Warning System indicate that the number of FHA-insured loans that were seriously delinquent jumped again in January. According to report on the EWS for servicers who combined have an “active” FHA servicing portfolio of over 7.33 million loans, 732,775 of these loans were seriously delinquent at the end of January. While this report does not exactly match the SDQ numbers reported in various monthly FHA reports (which have not yet been released in January, it tracks the “official” numbers pretty closely. These data, combined with other data from the EWS (not shown here), suggest that the performance of the FHA’s pre-2010 book has continued to deteriorate significantly.

Based on this report, I estimate that the serious delinquency rate on FHA’s SF book in January (as measured by the FHA Monthly Outlook and/or FHA Monthly Report to the FHA commissioner) jumped to around 9.9% last month, up from 9.59% in December, 8.18% last June, and 8.89% last January.

As I noted last week, the pace of FHA loan modifications slowed dramatically in the latter part of last year, while the pace of property “conveyances” was shockingly low given the large number of seriously delinquent/in-foreclosure loans. Obviously, the slow pace of problem-loan “resolutions” has been at least partly behind the sharp increase in the number of seriously-delinquent FHA loans.

Many find it moderately disturbing that HUD Secretary Donovan has of late been working mainly on the big “mortgage settlement” -- and even worked to have part of the mortgage settlement money go to FHA – and has been “jawboning” Fannie and Freddie to “embrace” principal write-downs, while at the same time FHA’s problem-loan resolution activity plunged and the number of seriously delinquent FHA loans has surged. However, headlines such as “Donovan Fiddles as FHA Burns” seem a bit strong – but I used it anyway!

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