February 8, 2022

Creativity, equity boost home mortgage success

Despite affordability headwinds, mortgage performance continues to improve, supported by record home equity.

The job market is also well on its way to recovery, and long-stagnant wages are finally on the rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of November 2021, the BLS says 82% of jobs lost due to the pandemic have been recovered, putting 18.2 million Americans back to work.

And despite rising home and consumer prices, an increase in refinances and borrower creativity has pushed the national foreclosure inventory to its lowest level since records began in 1999.

The national delinquency rate, the percentage of all mortgages that were 30 or more days past due, fell below pre-pandemic levels in October 2021 due to labor market improvements and home equity increases, according to the most recent CoreLogic Loan Performance Report.

Along with rising economic security, borrower creativity can help reduce or avoid mortgage delinquency.

In a recent survey, real estate researchers CoreLogic found more than 30% of respondents cutting back on entertainment and travel to focus on repaying their outstanding mortgage debt.

Remember the story of the grasshopper and the ant? In times of plenty, the grasshopper played and played, while the ant stashed and stored for the hard winter ahead.

Plan out in advance how you'll spend your paycheck, creating a plan for short-term and longer-term spending goals. Experts recommend small sacrifices today to set up a better tomorrow. While everyone has at least some degree of control over income, they have a great deal of control over spending. Top areas of compromise are:

  • Driving older vehicles
  • Taking fewer or less extravagant vacations
  • Replacing satellite and cable companies with streaming services
  • Putting in extra hours if possible

For longer term savings, your 401K contribution should be on autopilot, and as you approach middle age, you should be bumping up your contribution rate by a percentage point or two each year, a subtle boost you’ll probably never notice.

Consider putting any “windfalls,” such as pay increases, bonuses or cash gifts from family members, directly into savings.

The serious mortgage delinquency rate (90 days or more past due, including loans in forbearance) dipped 19 basis points year over year to 2.2% in October.

The expectation is that delinquency will continue to decline during 2022.