Government agencies responsible for protecting consumers have precious little time to save millions of families from losing their homes—that's according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) first analysis of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on housing.
Bureau administrators say actions taken by both the public and private sector have, so far, prevented a devastating number of foreclosures during the height of the public health crisis. However, according to a CFBP press release, as legal protections expire in the months ahead, more than 11 million families or almost 10% of U.S. households are at risk of eviction and foreclosure.
"It’s common sense that safe, affordable, and stable housing provides the foundation for people’s well-being, financial and otherwise. Stable homes mean stable neighborhoods and communities. When people lose their homes, their lives, health, and finances are all disrupted. Even the threat of losing a family’s home can force tough financial decisions, including skipping payments on food, medicine, and heat to keep a roof over their head," writes CFPB's Dave Uejio.
He continues, "We also know that many, particularly in Black and Hispanic communities, have still not recovered from the last financial crisis, more than a decade ago. And those same communities are once again bearing a disproportionate financial and health burden during the pandemic, through no fault of their own."
According to the report summary, those who have fallen behind at least three months on their mortgage increased 250% to 2 million-plus households, and is now at a level not seen since the height of the Great Recession in 2010. Collectively, these households are estimated to owe almost $90 billion in deferred principal, interest, taxes, and insurance payments.
More than 8 million rental households are behind in their rent.
While there are significant differences from the last crisis (a more stable mortgage market and substantial homeowner equity) there are a significant number of households at risk of losing their housing just as the U.S. economy is poised to emerge from the pandemic—a
a disproportionate number of them from communities of color.
The CFPB report— which examines the relevant data and research on the impact of the pandemic on the rental and mortgage market, and particularly its impact on low income and minority households—can be accessed at consumerfinance.gov.
- The number of homeowners behind on their mortgage has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic—6% of mortgages were delinquent as of December 2020.
- More homeowners are behind on their mortgages now than at any time since 2010, which was the peak of the Great Recession.
- 2.1 million homeowners are more than 90 days behind on payments, a key benchmark for being “seriously delinquent” in mortgage payments. That’s five times the number of families that were more than 90 days behind on their mortgage before the pandemic began.
- Black and Hispanic families are more than twice as likely to report being behind on their housing payments than White families.
- An estimated 8.8 million tenant households are behind on their rent.
- About 10% of renters reported that they’re likely to be evicted in the next two months, with the rates highest among Black and Hispanic households.