Mortgage interest rates are not expected fo fall much below 14 percent before July, according to a survey of 88 lenders conducted by the U.S. League of Savings Associations. At the same time, the league revealed that mortgage loan delinquencies rose to their highest level in four years during January.
Just over half of the savings and loan executives polled predicted mortgage rates in their area would range between 13 and 14 percent, while another third of the sample felt they would be over 14 percent. Just two lenders out of 100 anticipate rates will drop below 12 percent this year. As for 1982, 71 percent foresee rates over 12 percent.
The highest projected rates were reported by Boston lenders; the lowest by Miamians. Slightly more Washingtonians mentioned the 13-to-14 percent range than mentioned rates of over 14 percent; only 6 percent expect anything under 13 percent.
Asked to characterize market conditions in their own cities, two-thirds called them "depressed" and another 21 percent said they were "worsening." The deepest gloom at the moment was reported in Cleveland, while Milwaukee lenders seemed to be most afraid of the months ahead. In Washington, almost two-thirds of the respondants called the situation "depressed and stable," but another third felt it was improving slowly. Only 6 percent said it was getting worse. The brightest spot by far was Miami where 11 percent of the lenders described the housing market "strong."
Delinquencies at savings and loans reached 0.98 percent in January, the highest ratio since February 1977. The January 1980 ratio was 0.78 percent, or 78 payments 60 days or more overdue for every 10,000 mortgages. By contrast, the ratio reached a low of 0.63 percent in June 1979.
While mortgage delinquencies traditionally rise in January when householders are facing holiday bills, this year's increase was attributed to continued high inflation and energy costs by league officials who surveyed 950 savings and loans.