Las Vegas, as we know, was the foreclosure capital of America during the recession. Job losses soared as borrowers throughout the valley fell behind on their mortgage and lost their home to lenders.
But in a break from recent history, Las Vegas is showing signs that its mortgage woes, at least in one way, are not as bad as they are nationally.
Locally, 4.3 percent of borrowers were at least 30 days late on their payments in February, compared to 4.8 percent nationally. It was the seventh consecutive month that Las Vegas’ mortgage-delinquency rate was lower than the U.S. average, according to figures from housing tracker CoreLogic.
Even if homeowners have financial problems, he added, the market is strong enough so they can sell their house, letting them avoid foreclosure.
Still, Las Vegas isn’t “totally out of the woods,” he pointed out. Its serious delinquency rate — the share of borrowers at least 90 days late on their mortgage — was 2.2 percent in February, a touch higher than the U.S. average of 2.1 percent.
Nothaft said he follows that gauge more closely. Homeowners might miss one payment because their lives are hectic, he said, but “it’s not an accident” if they skip three in a row.
Also, Las Vegas’ underwater rate has ped significantly over the years — at one point, it seemed practically anyone with a mortgage was upside down — but it’s still well above the national average.
About 9.2 percent of local borrowers were underwater as of December, compared to around 4.9 percent nationally, according to the most recent numbers from CoreLogic.
The cost of money
Speaking of home loans, interest rates reached their highest level in years this week.
The average rate on a 30-year mortgage hit 4.61 percent, matching the highest tally since 2011, according to mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac.
Higher rates mean bigger monthly payments, which could scare buyers from pulling the trigger on a purchase or push them to get something cheaper – assuming they can find one, a not-so-easy-task today amid Las Vegas.