Newly delinquent home borrowers with privately insured mortgages outnumbered people who caught up on overdue payments by more than 2 to 1 in December — the worst ratio on record — according to the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, an industry trade group.
During the month 49,749 homeowners who had fallen behind on their home loans became current, compared with 105,110 who became at least 60 days late, the trade group said Friday. There were 2.1 defaults for every "cure," compared with 1.89 in November.
Radian Group Inc., the third-largest U.S. mortgage insurer, contributed its results to the trade group in December for the first time in five years.
Fitch Inc. said last month that the mortgage insurance industry may face higher-than-average claims again this year as "home prices continue to decline, and the overall U.S. economy weathers a recession."
MGIC Investment Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage insurer, lost $518.9 million last year — its second straight year in the red — and is seeking aid from the federal government to back new policies.
Until 2007, private mortgage policies had been one of the most profitable types of coverage sold by insurers. From 2004 to 2006, members of the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America reported a profit margin of at least 35 cents for every dollar they collected in premiums. Auto insurers made less than 5 cents on every dollar in 2006, according to A.M. Best Co.
The trade group has been compiling data for about 10 years.
Radian and PMI Group Inc., the second-largest mortgage insurer, have not announced fourth-quarter results. Radian, PMI, and MGIC have all lost more than half their market value in the past 12 months.