David Hernandez, CFA
This week’s Chart of the Week examines four types of loans and their delinquency rates over the past twenty years. A loan is considered to be delinquent if it is past due by thirty or more days. The delinquency rate is the percentage of loans that are considered to be delinquent.
The chart shows all four delinquency rates are on a noticeable decline from their peaks as the economy has made some improvements over the last two years. In fact, three of the four rates have fallen below their respective twenty year averages. Business loan delinquency rates have followed the pattern of the business cycle therefore it is not surprising to see the rates go down as we emerge from recession. Consumer and credit card delinquency rate declines are due in large part to commercial banks writing off bad debt, a tightening of lending standards, and consumers deleveraging. More individuals are no longer paying their mortgages, thus freeing up money to pay off other debts.
The delinquency rate for single family mortgages remains considerably higher than its twenty year average. Many homes are now valued significantly lower than their loan balances. This fact, coupled with a challenging job market, has contributed to the high delinquency rate. The potential that these delinquent properties will eventually end up in foreclosure make it an even more challenging environment for residential real estate. Foreclosures will increase the supply in an already oversupplied market and exacerbate the downward pressure on home prices. As discussed in our 2012 Market Preview, this environment has led to a boom for owners of rental units: the apartment sector has benefitted because individuals are now turning to rentals rather than purchasing homes.
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