Delinquencies among borrowers for past-due mortgages are soaring, a sign that Americans are struggling to pay their bills due to a wave of layoffs or lost income from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mortgage delinquencies surged by 1.6 million in April, the largest single-month jump in history, according to a report from Black Knight, a mortgage technology and data provider. The data includes both homeowners past due on mortgage payments who aren’t in forbearance, along with those in forbearance plans and who didn’t make a mortgage payment in April.
At 6.45%, the national delinquency rate nearly doubled from 3.06% in March, the largest single-month increase ever recorded, and nearly three times the prior record for a single month during the height of the financial crisis in late 2008, Black Knight said.
Number of unpaid credit card accounts in April increased 10,000% from a year ago. Number of unpaid auto loans up 350%.
Millions of people are behind on their credit-card and auto-loan payments, the latest sign of the coronavirus pandemic’s financial devastation.
Lenders in April had nearly 15 million credit cards in “financial hardship” programs, such as deferral programs that let borrowers temporarily stop making payments, according to estimates by credit-reporting firm TransUnion. That accounts for about 3% of the credit-card accounts the company tracks, TransUnion said Wednesday.
Nearly three million auto loans were in these hardship programs, accounting for about 3.5% of those tracked.
The numbers have surged from a year ago, when 0.03% of credit cards and about 0.5% of auto loans were in financial-hardship programs.
The spike in unemployment caused by the coronavirus has strained people’s ability to make their monthly debt payments. To make matters worse, Americans were tapping credit cards and auto loans at record levels even before the pandemic to deal with rising costs and stagnant incomes.
As coronavirus cases surged in the U.S. and businesses shut down, millions of people told their lenders they wouldn’t be able to pay their bills. Some lenders have allowed borrowers to miss payments for as long as several months on credit cards, auto loans and personal loans.