Good News and Bad News in LPS' October Mortgage Monitor: Nearly Half of All Second Lien HELOCs Could Begin Amortizing Over Next Three Years; U.S. Negative Equity Population Down to 11.6 Percent

First, the bad news (emphasis mine):

​JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dec. 9, 2013 -- Lender Processing Services’ (NYSE: LPS) October Mortgage Monitor reported that 48 percent of outstanding second lien home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) were originated between 2004 and 2006. Given that the vast majority of HELOCs originated during this time have draw periods of 10 years, they are set to begin amortizing over the next several years. As the payments on these HELOCs become fully amortizing, many borrowers may see monthly payments increase. According to LPS Senior Vice President Herb Blecher, recent increases in new problem loans among the HELOCs originated prior to 2004 (that have already begun amortizing) indicate increased risk of more delinquencies ahead.

“In the aggregate, the home equity market is experiencing lower delinquencies,” said Blecher. “However, among the HELOC population that has already begun amortizing, we are actually seeing an increase in new seriously delinquent loans. As of today, only 14 percent of second lien HELOCs have passed this 10-year mark, leaving a very large segment of the market at risk of payment increases over the coming years. Nearly half of all of these lines of credit were originated between 2004 and 2006, with the oldest set to begin amortizing next year. If this trend toward post-amortizing delinquencies carries over, we could be looking at significant risk to the home equity market over the coming years.

Now the good news:

“Turning to the first mortgage market, LPS found that the share of borrowers in negative equity positions has continued to decline as home prices have risen. As of September, that number was just 11.6 percent of active mortgages, down from almost 19 percent in January. As reports of estimated U.S. negative equity tend to vary widely, and to clarify our approach, we are applying a highly refined methodology to our calculations, accounting for not only the current combined loan amount of first and second liens using comprehensive loan and property data, but also the impact of distressed sale discounts on loans in serious delinquency or foreclosure. While distressed sales are making up an ever-shrinking portion of real estate transactions – just 14.2 percent in September, the lowest share since 2007 – these sales have prices about 25 percent lower than traditional transactions. Improperly weighing the influence of second liens or distressed sale discounts can skew measures of Americans’ equity, or lack thereof, in their homes.”

Source: LPS' press release

Here's a look at delinquency and foreclosure trends from LPS' October Mortgage Monitor (pdf). The mortgage delinquency rate (loans 30+ days past due) was at 6.28% in October 2013, down from 6.46% in September 2013. In 2013, the delinquency rate hit a low of 6.08% in May. Look how mortgage originations in September 2013 almost halved since May 2013. Mortgage rates spiked in May and June when bond traders started to price in a future taper (see related posts on QE).

Source: LPS October Mortgage Monitor (2013)

Source: St. Louis Fed

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