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FHFA Extends Foreclosure Moratorium, Forbearance Period

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect added measures taken by the FHFA to assist homeowners, an extension of previously applied COVID-related loan flexibilities. 

FHFA Tuesday announced another extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium [1] through March 31. That means a ban on single-family foreclosures for loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. FHFA says the REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by a GSE through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. Existing moratoriums were set to expire on February 28, 2021.

FHFA also said borrowers with a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac may be eligible for an additional forbearance extension of up to three months.

"Eligibility for the extension is limited to borrowers who are on a COVID-19 forbearance plan as of February 28, 2021, and other limits may apply," according to an FHFA press release. "Further, COVID-19 Payment Deferral for borrowers with an enterprise-backed mortgage can now cover up to 15 months of missed payments. COVID-19 Payment Deferral allows those borrowers to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at mortgage maturity.

On Wednesday, FHFA also announced that GSEs will extend several loan origination flexibilities until March 31. The flexibilities—including alternative appraisals on purchase and rate term refinance loans; alternative methods for documenting income and verifying employment before loan closing; and expanding the use of power of attorney to assist with loan closings—previously were set to expire at the end of February.

Extensions and updates have been put in place in order "to keep families in their home during the pandemic," said FHFA Director Mark Calabria.

"Currently, FHFA projects expenses of $1.5 to $2 billion will be borne by Fannie and Freddie due to the existing COVID-19 foreclosure moratorium and its extension," according to the press release. "FHFA continues to monitor the effect of the COVID-19 servicing policies on borrowers, the GSEs, and their counterparties, and the mortgage market."

FHFA says it may extend or sunset its policies based on the data and the health risk.