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Forbearances Continue Slow and Steady Improvement

According to Black Knight’s latest forbearance data analysis, a common trend continued as the number of active forbearances fell this week, driven by month-end expiration activity.

Nationwide, the number of U.S. homeowners with forbearance plans stood at approximately 2.69 million as of March 2, or 5.1% of American homeowners, falling by 22,000 from last week, and a decline of -0.8%. Of that total, FHA/VA forbearances comprised 9.2% of that share, which fell by 13,000; GSE forbearances comprised 3.2% of that total, which declined by 8,000; and portfolio/PLS forbearances accounted for 5.2% of all forbearance plans, which fell by just 1,000 this week.

Black Knight recently reported that in January 2021, the national mortgage delinquency rate fell to 5.9%, a 0.9% monthly dip from December 2020’s total of 6.08%.

Come early April, nearly 1.1 million homeowners with forbearance plans scheduled to expire at the end of March (just over 600,000 of that total are 12-month expirations) are set to exit their plans.

Despite the weekly decline in outstanding forbearance plans, the month-over-month rate of improvement has slowed, falling from -2% to -1.3%.

Recent forbearance and foreclosure moratorium extensions taken by the Biden Administration have reduced near-term risk, but may also lengthen the recovery period and a return to normalcy. Black Knight recently reported that at the current rate of improvement, 1.8 million mortgages will still be seriously delinquent at the end of June when foreclosure moratoriums on government-backed loans are currently slated to lift.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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