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Forbearances Experience First Drop Since Crisis Began

Forbearances have seen their first decline since the COVID-19 crisis began, according to data from Black Knight. According to the McDash Flash Forbearance Tracker, as of June 2, 2020, 4.73 million homeowners, representing 8.9% of all mortgages are in COVID-19 mortgage forbearance plans. That’s down from 4.76 million last week. The number of loans in active forbearance decreased by a net 34,000 over the past week, marking the first weekly decline since the CARES Act was enacted and the flood of forbearance requests began.

There was actually a net decline of 43,000 forbearances among government-backed mortgages (Fannie, Freddie and FHA/VA) from May 26 to June 2, but this was partially offset by an increase of 9,000 forbearances among mortgages in bank portfolios and private-label securities.

“While this decline is welcome news, there are still concerning signs in the data," said Black Knight CEO Anthony Jabbour. "According to Black Knight’s McDash Flash Payment Tracker, far fewer homeowners in forbearance remitted May payments than did in April. If that trend holds true through the end of the month, the market should be prepared for another likely rise in the delinquency rate for May. Also, expanded unemployment benefits are scheduled to end on July 31. It remains to be seen how that will impact both forbearance requests and overall mortgage delinquencies.”

Black Knight notes that the decline is driving a shift in servicer focus from forbearance pipeline growth to forbearance pipeline management.

“While this decline is welcome news,” Jabbour continued, “there are still concerning signs in the data. According to Black Knight’s McDash Flash Payment Tracker, far fewer homeowners in forbearance remitted May payments than did in April. If that trend holds true through the end of the month, the market should be prepared for another likely rise in the delinquency rate for May. Also, expanded unemployment benefits are scheduled to end on July 31. It remains to be seen how that will impact both forbearance requests and overall mortgage delinquencies.”

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Harding University, he has covered numerous topics across the real estate and default servicing industries. Additionally, he has written B2B marketing copy for Dallas-based companies such as AT&T. An East Texas Native, he also works part-time as a photographer.
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