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Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Down to 4.50%

Anxious buyers who hope some homes in forbearance would be soon listed for sale may be disappointed as more owners start making their mortgage payments again.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As of April 11, the total number of loans in forbearance decreased by 16 basis points – from 4.66% of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week to 4.50%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey.

Forbearance provides an economic lifeline to homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to postpone their monthly mortgage payments while the nation waits to get past the pandemic and people return to their jobs. They have a number of repayment options, but the simplest one tacks all missed payments onto the end of their loan. When their forbearance period ends, they simply start making the monthly payments again and pick up where they left off.

With a number of homeowners in trouble and a foreclosure ban in effect, many buyers hope the end of the pandemic might also bring a stronger inventory of homes for sale. While that might be true for homeowners who postponed a sale until the pandemic ended, it’s not clear how many homes in forbearance will actually be added to inventory.

“The share of loans in forbearance decreased for the seventh straight week and has now dropped 40 basis points in the last two weeks,” says Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s senior vice president and chief economist. “The forbearance share decreased for all three investor categories, with the rate for portfolio and PLS loans (private-label securities) decreasing by 31 basis points this past week – the largest drop across investor categories.”

Still, Fratantoni says more than 36% of borrowers in forbearance extensions have now exceeded the 12-month mark.

“We expect that the forbearance numbers will continue to decline in the months ahead as more individuals regain employment,” Fratantoni adds. “Homeowners who are still facing hardships and need to extend their forbearance term should contact their servicers.”

Key MBA forbearance findings: April 5 to April 11, 2021

  • Total loans in forbearance decreased from 4.66% to 4.50%.
  • Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance decreased from 6.33% to 6.16%.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans decreased from 2.52% to 2.44%.
  • The share of other loans (e.g., portfolio and PLS loans) in forbearance decreased from 8.65% to 8.34%.
  • 13.1% of total loans in forbearance are in the initial forbearance plan stage, while 82.1% are in a forbearance extension. The remaining 4.8% are forbearance re-entries.

Of the cumulative forbearance exits from June 1, 2020, through April 11, 2021:

  • 26.7% resulted in a loan deferral/partial claim.
  • 25.6% were borrowers who continued to make monthly payments during their forbearance period.
  • 14.6% were borrowers who did not make all of the monthly payments and exited forbearance without a loss mitigation plan in place yet.
  • 14.5% were reinstatements, in which past-due amounts were paid back when exiting.
  • 9.5% resulted in a loan modification or trial loan modification.
  • 7.4% resulted in loans paid off through either a refinance or by selling the home.
  • The remaining 1.6% resulted in repayment plans, short sales, deed-in-lieus or other reasons.

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