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Nevada mortgage delinquencies lowest in years before coronavirus

Updated April 15, 2020 - 8:26 am

The share of Las Vegas homeowners far behind on their mortgage remained at its lowest level in years in January.

But as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy with sweeping business closures and record job losses, delinquencies are expected to rise nationwide, a new report indicates.

An estimated 1.3 percent of Las Vegas-area mortgages were at least 90 days past due in January, compared to 1.2 percent nationally, according to housing tracker CoreLogic.

Locally, this so-called serious delinquency rate, as defined by CoreLogic, has been flat since July. It’s also at the lowest level since January 2007, not long before Las Vegas’ economy imploded amid the Great Recession and delinquencies skyrocketed, CoreLogic data shows.

Nationally, the serious delinquency rate was unchanged from December and the lowest since April 2000, the research firm reported.

Lowest delinquency rates in a generation

All told, delinquency and foreclosure rates were the lowest in a generation before the pandemic hit, CoreLogic chief economist Frank Nothaft said in a news release.

Recession-sparked job losses “will fuel delinquencies,” he added, though widespread foreclosures “will likely be averted” in part because of mortgage relief programs being offered during the outbreak.

Major lenders such as Wells Fargo and Chase have told the Review-Journal that borrowers can defer payments for 90 days amid the public health crisis.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, who ordered casinos and other businesses closed to help contain the virus’ spread, later signed an emergency order that temporarily froze eviction and foreclosure proceedings involving residential or commercial real estate in Nevada, with exceptions for people who pose a threat to others or to their property.

It also bars late fees or penalties for nonpayment during the crisis. However, it does not give people a green light to live for free, nor does it dictate how missed checks will be repaid if tenants or homeowners fall behind on their payments because of the turmoil.

Nevada, with its tourism-dependent economy, has been rocked by record job losses amid the pandemic, raising the prospect of waves of missed mortgage or rent payments.

Around 271,530 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed in Nevada this year through the week ending April 4 — more than the last two years combined, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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