The percentage of Winston-Salem-area homeowners late on their mortgage payments remained on a slight downward trend during July, CoreLogic, a national real-estate research company, reported Tuesday.

The rate was 4.8% in the Winston-Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Forsyth, Davidson, Davie, Stokes and Yadkin counties. The rate was 5% a year ago.

The report focuses on the delinquent-mortgage market, with “delinquent” defined as being at least 30 days overdue on payment.

The delinquency rate was 1.5% for mortgage payments more than 90 days past due, down from 1.7% a year earlier. Both figures include houses 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 refinancing to lower mortgage rates.

“The fundamentals of the housing market remain very solid with foreclosure rates hitting lows not seen in over 20 years,” said Frank Martell, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.

“We expect foreclosure rates may very well drift even lower in the months ahead, as wage growth and lower mortgage rates provide support for homeownership.”

For the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, the 30-day delinquency rate was 5.1%, down from 5.4% a year earlier, while the delinquency rate of more than 90 days was 1.7%, down from 1.8% a year ago.

“Homeowners have seen a big rise in home equity, which lowers foreclosure risk because owners have more ‘skin in the game,’ ” said Frank Nothaft, the chief economist at CoreLogic.

Attom Data Solutions reported that the foreclosure rate in the Winston-Salem MSA remained on an upward swing during July.

The five-county region had 165 filings during July, up 7.5% from a year ago.

Forsyth, as typical, led the five-county area with 118 filings, up 18% from a year ago. Davidson was next at 24 filings, followed by 11 in Stokes, eight in Yadkin and four in Davie.

By comparison, the Greensboro-High Point area had 207 filings, up 71.1% from a year ago and up 19.6% from June. Guilford County had the most at 163, followed by 26 in Randolph County and 18 in Rockingham County.

Attom said the primary reason for the increase in foreclosure filings came from lenders becoming more active in initiating foreclosures.

Officials with the Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors have cautioned that information about delinquency and/or underwater loans can affect the real-estate market by undermining consumer confidence, causing some hesitation in buying or trying to sell a house now and prompting an overreaction.

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