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Forbearance Volumes Change Course

neighborhoodAfter falling by 273,000 or 9% over the past two weeks, forbearance volumes edged upward this week.

Data collected by Black Knight through November 17 showed that about 5.2% of all active mortgage loans nationwide are in forbearance programs—that's about 2.77 million. The number is significantly lower than last spring's peak, which was 4.76 million in late May.

Black Knight publicist Angela Brangaccio summed up the report for DS News:

"This week’s rise was a result of an increase of 15,000 forbearances among FHA/VA loans, along with 14,000 and 1,000 additional loans in forbearance among private-label securities/bank portfolios and the GSEs, respectively.

"Despite the weekly increase, the number of active forbearances remains down 7% (-212,000) from the same time last month," Brangaccio said. "We’re used to seeing incremental increases in the middle of the month, with bigger declines usually happening in the beginning of the month as forbearance plans expire."

Also of note, extensions account for 82% of active forbearance cases.

Each week, Black Knight compiles a report from its McDash Flash Forbearance Tracker, which tracks forbearance volumes and related data, and posts a summary here on this blog.

The following chart tracks forbearances throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic:

Last week, Freddie Mac released a report that showed the extent to which forbearances have helped keep homeowners in their houses despite COVID-related delinquencies. For Freddie-backed loans, the survey compares the coronavirus to previous natural disasters such as hurricanes and fires.

Freddie Mac concluded that homeowners have delayed about $4 billion in mortgage payments each month through forbearance.

According to the report, the early pandemic forbearance rate was slightly lower than the 5.8% recorded from August 2017 to December 2017, when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria wreaked havoc. Three years ago, the financial stress was strictly regional, whereas this year the stress is nationwide.

“Mortgage forbearance provides liquidity to households and plays a vital role in mitigating the damage to homeowners during times of crisis whether it be a hurricane, wildfire, or health epidemic,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Research on this topic is important because it will help us prepare for the next several months as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.”

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others.
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