Black Knight: Interest rate drop led to flood of mortgage prepayments in March

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Mortgage interest rates dropped throughout the month of March, culminating in interest rates closing out the month with the largest single-week decline in 10 years. As of the end of March, mortgage rates were at their lowest point since January 2018

And as one might expect, that drop in mortgage rates led to a massive increase in mortgage prepayments in March, according to a first look at March’s mortgage data from Black Knight.

Black Knight’s report, released Tuesday morning, shows that prepayment activity rose 28% in March over February. That’s the largest single-month increase in 2.5 years, according to Black Knight.

Beyond that, the Black Knight report shows that the national delinquency rate fell by 5.3% in March, which is actually the smallest improvement for any March in six years. According to the report, March is typically the strongest-performing month of the year in terms of delinquencies.

On the other side of things, there were only 39,700 foreclosure starts in March, which is the smallest number of new foreclosures during any month in more than 18 years.

On top of that, the number of outstanding 90-day delinquencies fell in March to below 500,000 (493,000, to be approximate). That’s the first time that the number of outstanding 90-day delinquencies has been below 500,000 in more than 12 years.

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