The number of Winston-Salem-area homeowners late on their mortgage payments dropped again in the second quarter to 4.1 percent, according to a report by CoreLogic.

The national real-estate research company’s report focuses on the delinquent mortgage market, with “delinquent” defined as being at least 30 days overdue on payment.

Winston-Salem’s metropolitan statistical area comprises Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin counties.

The rate was down from 4.5 percent in the first quarter.

The rate was 0.9 percent for mortgage payments more than 90 days past due, down from 1 percent in the first quarter. Both figures include homes in the foreclosure pipeline.

Economists say housing markets and lenders are benefiting from more homeowners being able to stay current on their monthly mortgage payments, in part because of an increase in employer hiring.

There also has been an upswing, both locally and nationally, in private-equity groups buying homes and then renting them out as they await higher home prices.

For the Greensboro-High Point MSA, the 30-day delinquency rate was 4.2 percent, unchanged from the first quarter. The delinquency rate of more than 90 days was 0.4 percent, down from 0.5 percent a year ago.

“Negative equity levels continue to drop across the U.S. with the biggest declines in areas with strong price appreciation,” said Frank Martell, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.

“The relatively low level of shadow inventory contributes to the chronic shortage of housing supply and price increases in many markets.”

A second-quarter housing report released Aug. 8 by Attom Data Solutions found the Winston-Salem MSA reached a two-year high in the number of residential households considered as seriously underwater.

However, Attom also determined that more area homeowners are moving from the equity-rich stage to paying off their mortgage.

A mortgage is underwater when a homeowner owes more than the home is worth. Attom defines seriously underwater as owing at least 25 percent more on a mortgage than the property’s value.

By contrast, Attom defines equity rich as a mortgage with a loan-to-home value of 50 percent or lower.

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