First-mortgage defaults up slightly in December

by Francis Monfort18 Jan 2018
The rate of first-mortgage defaults increased in December over November, along with the overall consumer default rate, according to the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices released by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian.

First-mortgage defaults were at a rate of 0.68% in December, up two basis points from 0.66% in November. Compared to the year-ago period, first mortgage defaults decreased from a rate of 0.71%. The monthly increase was greater for second-mortgage defaults, which were at a rate of 1.22% in December, compared with 1.08% in November. Second-mortgage defaults were at a rate of 0.41% in the December 2016.

According to the indices, first-mortgage default rates have been stable for nearly two years, remaining within a 20-basis-point range.

The composite rate increased two basis points to 0.91% in December from the month-ago and year-ago rates, which were both 0.89%. The bank-card default rate rose 16 basis points to 3.44%, while the auto-loan default rate fell one basis point to 1.10%.

"The default rate on bank cards has been rising consistently since December 2015," said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Defaults on auto loans are up slightly and first mortgage defaults are little changed over the last two to three years. Continued low unemployment and low inflation, rising home prices, and stock market gains combined with gains in consumer confidence to support strong gains in retail sales in the last four months of 2017. However, the same expansion in consumer spending is now appearing in the bank-card default data.”

Related stories:
First-mortgage defaults drop in November
First mortgage defaults increase slightly


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