Forbearances Tick Up Again: Black Knight

The number of mortgages in active forbearance rose for the second week in a row, climbing by by 21,000 (+0.08) since last Tuesday, pushing the total back up above 2.7 million after falling below that threshold for the first time since last April earlier this month.

This week’s rise continues the trend of mid-month increases that have become commonplace since the recovery began.

Despite the weekly increase, the monthly rate of decline held steady at -2%, continuing the trend of very slow but steady improvement in the number of outstanding forbearance cases. Remember, monthly declines have been averaging less than 2% since early December.

According the McDash Flash daily mortgage performance data set, as of February 23, 2.7 million homeowners (5.1% of all mortgage-holders), remain in active forbearance. This includes 9.3% of FHA/VA, 3.2% of GSE and 5.2% of portfolio/private mortgages

Once again, portfolio-held and privately-securitized loans saw the largest increase in plans (+16,000 / +2.4%), followed FHA/VA loans, which saw active forbearance plans rise by 7,000 (+0.6%). As was the case last week, GSE loans were the only cohort to see any sort of decline (-2,000; -0.2%).

Some 160,000 forbearance plans are set to hit scheduled expiration points at the end of February.

Source: themortgageleader.com

Mortgages in Forbearance Fell in January 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up all areas of the U.S. economy in a number of ways, and the mortgage industry has been no exception. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of mortgages in forbearance have increased significantly — due, in major part, to the high unemployment numbers as well as the federal relief programs meant to help protect homeowners who are struggling financially.

 While the forbearance and delinquency numbers in January 2021 look more optimistic than they did at other points in the past, experts still predict it will be a while before the rates return to pre-pandemic numbers. Here’s what you should know about this issue.

In this article

Current state of forbearance as of January 2021

According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, about 5.46% of all mortgages — or roughly 2.7 million homeowners — were in forbearance during the second week of January, down slightly from 5.53% the week prior.

Forbearance numbers have ebbed and flowed over the past 10 months, in major part because of the economic changes caused by the pandemic. The latest decrease in forbearances came after a three-week increase caused by the economic slowdown in December.

There are still tons of people still struggling to make their mortgage payments, however, and two important federal relief programs are set to end soon — which could cause big issues for homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages.

The foreclosure moratoriums for Fannie Mae are set to end January 31, while the foreclosure protections for Freddie Mac loans are set to end on Febuary 28. Further compounding the issue is the fact that the deadline to request forbearance on a government-backed loan is currently February 28.

If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or another government agency and you’re still facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, be sure to request mortgage relief before the deadline. You can request up to 180 days of forbearance if you need it.

2020 forbearance trends and the COVID-19 pandemic

When the pandemic hit and unemployment numbers increased, many homeowners struggled to make their mortgage payments. In response, the federal government provided mortgage relief as part of the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in the bill was a provision to protect homeowners with mortgages that are backed by a government agency or government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Under the CARES Act, borrowers who fit the criteria couldn’t have their home foreclosed on. Those experiencing a financial hardship could also request forbearance in 180-day increments for a total period of 12 months.

During the first couple of months of the pandemic, the number of homeowners with forbearances grew rapidly. At the start of the pandemic in early March, only 0.25% of loans were in forbearance. By the first week of April, that number had risen to 3.74%.

The percentage of mortgage loans in forbearance peaked at 8.6% in June, representing about 4.2 million mortgages. While the numbers ebbed and flowed throughout the rest of 2020, the rate of mortgages in forbearance generally declined.

As unemployment and forbearance rates remained high throughout the year, government agencies extended deadlines on forbearance requests and extended foreclosure moratoriums. As of Jan. 2021, borrowers have until Feb. 28 to request forbearance on their government-backed loan, and their mortgage cannot be foreclosed on until the same date. For Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, there is no deadline to request forbearance, but the foreclosure moratorium ends Jan. 31, 2021.

Despite the relief provided by the federal government, mortgage delinquencies still remain high. Part of the problem is that the federal protections only apply to those with a government or GSE-backed mortgage. As a result, many homeowners aren’t eligible, and some may not realize there are programs available to help.

[ Read: Best Refinance Rates ]

Before COVID-19, the number of mortgages that were delinquent was fairly steady at about 3.6%. By mid-2020, that number had risen to more than 8%. Mortgage experts expect that delinquency rates won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until early 2022.

How the housing market was affected by COVID and government forbearance programs

Despite the increase in unemployment and mortgage delinquencies throughout 2020, the past year has still been booming for the housing market.

First, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in 2020 to help keep the economy moving during the pandemic. As a result, mortgage rates have reached all-time lows over the past year, significantly increasing the demand for homes and refinances.

The public health crisis also caused many families to flee urban areas in favor of suburban neighborhoods or smaller towns. This pattern has caused housing demand and prices to spike in those areas due to an influx of new residents.

The government relief programs have also kept the housing supply low, despite the high demand. Thanks to the foreclosure moratorium and forbearance program, many homeowners have been able to stay in their homes when they otherwise may have had to sell. As a result, the housing market supply hasn’t increased like it generally does during an economic crisis.

What to expect for the rest of 2021

There’s no way to know exactly what is to come for the remainder of 2021. The past 12 months have been a tumultuous time for the economy as a whole, including the housing market.

The first thing worth noting is that many of the federal protections for homeowners are set to end soon. The foreclosure moratorium will end Jan. 31 for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Feb. 28 for mortgages backed by a government agency. Additionally, the deadline for homeowners to request forbearance from a government agency is Feb. 28.

Despite the protections currently in place, the delinquency rate for federally-backed loans has remained significantly higher than the rate for mortgages overall. Once the current relief programs end, it’s possible that many of the loans currently in forbearance will become delinquent, ultimately causing them to go into foreclosure.

[ Read: Best Investment Property Mortgage Rates ]

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

Mortgage Application Volume Continues Decline

The volume of
mortgage applications for both home purchase and refinancing fell for the third
straight time during the week ended February 19.
The Mortgage Bankers
Association (MBA) says its Market Composite Index, a measure of that volume,
dropped 11.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. It was the largest single
week decline since the week ended April 3, 2020. On an unadjusted basis the index
was down 10.0 percent.

The Refinancing
Index decreased 11 percent from the previous week but was still 50 percent
higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage
activity decreased to 68.5 percent of total applications from 69.3 percent the
previous week.

The seasonally
adjusted Purchase Index dropped 12 percent and was 8 percent lower before adjustment.
Activity was 7 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

 

Refi Index vs 30yr Fixed

 

Purchase Index vs 30yr Fixed

 

“Mortgage
rates have increased in six of the last eight weeks, with the benchmark 30-year
fixed rate last week climbing above 3 percent to its highest level since
September 2020. As a result of these higher rates, overall refinance activity
fell 11 percent to its lowest level since December 2020
, but remained 50
percent higher than a year ago,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President
of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Additionally, the severe winter weather
in Texas affected many households and lenders, causing more than a 40 percent
drop in both purchase and refinance applications in the state last week.” 

Added
Kan, “The housing market in most of the country remains strong, with activity
last week 7 percent higher than a year ago. The average loan size of purchase
applications increased to a record $418,000, in line with the accelerating
home-price growth caused by very low inventory levels.” 

The
FHA share of total applications jumped to 11.2 percent from 9.0 percent the previous
week while the VA share fell to 11.9 percent from 13.2 percent and the USDA
share dipped 0.1 point to 0.3. The balance of all loans was $344,800, up from
$338,200 and for purchase loans the balance grew from $412,200 to $418,000.

The average
contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) with balances at
or below the current conforming limit of $548,250 increased to 3.08 percent
from 2.98 percent, with points increasing to 0.46 from  0.43. The effective rate was 3.22 percent. 

The
rate for jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, loans with balances greater than the
conforming limit, increased to 3.23 percent from 3.11 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from
0.35. The effective rate was 3.35 percent.

Thirty-year
FRM backed by the FHA had an average rate of 3.00 percent with 0.33 point. The
prior week the rate was 2.93 percent with 0.27 point. The effective rate
increased to 3.10 percent.  The rate for
15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased 9 basis points to 2.56 percent and
points grew to 0.40 from 0.36. The effective rate was 2.66 percent.

The
average contract interest rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) was unchanged
at 2.83 percent, with points
decreasing to 0.36 from 0.70. The effective rate declined to 3.10 percent.  The ARM share of applications increased from
2.4 to 2.7 percent.  

MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications
Survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers over 75 percent of all U.S.
retail residential applications Respondents include mortgage bankers,
commercial banks, and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March
16, 1990=100 and interest rate information is based on loans with an 80 percent
loan-to-value ratio and points that include the origination fee.

MBA’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey found a 7-basis point
decline in the total number of loans in forbearance t
o 5.22 percent of all
first liens as of February 14, 2021. According to MBA’s estimate, 2.6 million homeowners
are in forbearance plans.  Of those
loans, 15.9 percent are in the initial forbearance plan stage, while 81.6
percent are in a forbearance extension. The remaining 2.5 percent are re-entries
in the program. 

The
share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSE) loans in forbearance decreased to
2.97 percent –
a 4-basis-point improvement. Ginnie Mae (FHA and VA) loans in forbearance ticked
down 2 basis points to 7.32 percent, while the forbearance share for portfolio
loans and private-label securities (PLS) decreased by 20 basis points to 8.94
percent. The percentage of loans in forbearance serviced by independent
mortgage banks (IMB) fell 15 basis points to 5.54 percent, and the percentage
of forborne loans in depository servicers’ portfolios rose 2 basis points to
5.28 percent.

“The share of loans in forbearance has declined for
three weeks in a row, with portfolio and PLS loans decreasing the most this
week. This decline was due to a sharp increase in borrower exits, particularly
for IMB servicers,” said
Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Requests for new
forbearances dropped to 6 basis points, matching a survey low.” 

Fratantoni added, “The housing market is
quite strong, with home sales, home construction, and home price data all
testifying to this strength. Policymakers and the mortgage industry have helped
enable this during the pandemic by providing millions of homeowners support in
the form of forbearance. The decision to extend the allowable duration of
forbearance plans should provide for a smoother transition this year as the job
market continues to recover.”

MBA’s latest Forbearance and Call
Volume Survey covers the period from February 8 through February 14, 2021 and
represents 74 percent of the first-mortgage servicing market (37.1 million
loans).

Source: mortgagenewsdaily.com

Forbearances fall for third week in a row, to 5.22%

The total number of mortgages in forbearance declined seven basis points to 5.22% in the week ending Feb. 14, according to the latest estimate from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The trade group said 2.6 million homeowners are currently in forbearance plans.

“The share of loans in forbearance has declined for three weeks in a row, with portfolio and PLS loans decreasing the most this week. This decline was due to a sharp increase in borrower exits, particularly for IMB servicers,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s senior vice president and chief economist.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac‘s forbearance portfolio continued to express the lowest share of loans, decreasing four basis points to 2.97%. Ginnie Mae‘s share, which include loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, fell 2 basis points to 7.32%, while the share for portfolio loans and private-label securities (PLS) dropped a full 20 basis points from the prior week, at 8.94%.

The percentage of loans in forbearance for nonbank servicers also dropped 15 basis points to 5.54%, while the percentage of loans for depository servicers decreased 2 basis points to 5.28%.


From forbearance to post-forbearance: How to make the process effective

To accommodate the large volume of loans still in forbearance, mortgage servicers must have functional, flexible and effective processes in place. Here are some actionable steps to create that process.

Presented by: FICS

The MBA’s survey found that of the cumulative exits between June 1, 2020, and Feb. 14, 27.9% of borrowers continued to make their monthly payments during the forbearance period while over 15% of exits represented borrowers who did not make all of their monthly payments and exited forbearance without a loss mitigation plan in place.

Overall, the MBA noted that new forbearance requests are also falling – down six basis points to match a survey low.

“The housing market is quite strong, with home sales, home construction, and home price data all testifying to this strength,” Fratantoni said. “Policymakers and the mortgage industry have helped enable this during the pandemic by providing millions of homeowners support in the form of forbearance.”

In the week prior, forbearance was once again extended by the Biden administration, pushing out forbearance and eviction moratoriums an additional three months, through June 30, 2021. This measure only applies to those with a loan backed by the FHA, though Fannie and Freddie recently extended forbearance requests up to 15 months.

Now, data is showing the affects of long-standing moratoriums. Black Knight’s December mortgage monitor report revealed foreclosure starts hit a record low in 2020, falling by 67% from the year prior as moratoriums and forbearance plans protected homeowners.

Based on the rate of improvement to date, Black Knight estimates there could be more than 2.5 million active forbearance plans remaining at the end of March 2021 when the first wave of plans reaches their 12-month expirations.

For four months now, the forbearance portfolio volume has hovered between 5% and 6% — the longest a percentage range has held since the survey’s origins in May.

Source: housingwire.com

Forbearances Rise Again: Black Knight

The number of mortgages in active forbearance was up again, rising by 20,000 from Tuesday of the previous week. That’s according to Black Knight’s McDash Flash Forbearance Tracker.

This increase continues the trend of mid-and late month increases in active forbearance plans since the recovery’s been underway.

A 4,000 weekly decline in active GSE forbearance plans was more than offset by a 9,000 increase in FHA/VA forbearance plans along with a 15,000 increase among portfolio-held and privately-securitized loans. More broadly speaking, the rate of improvement among GSE loans continues to significantly outpace other investor classes. GSE forbearances are now down 4% month over month, roughly four times the rate of decline among FHA/VA (-1%) and portfolio held and privately securitized forbearances (-1.3%).

Across the market, the monthly rate of decline in forbearance plans held steady at -2.1% as exits from plans continue to remain muted. Just 41,000 homeowners left their plans this week, making it one of the three lowest weeks in terms of removals since the recovery began.

There are some 172,000 forbearance plans still scheduled to expire at the end of January, which represents a modest opportunity for volume improvement next week.

As of January 26th, 2.76 million, or 5.2% of homeowners, remain in forbearance. Together, they represent $551 billion in unpaid principal and including 3.3% of GSE loans, 9.5% of FHA/VA loans, and 5.3% of portfolio held/privately securitized loans.

Source: themortgageleader.com

Prevention Measures and Increased Borrower Equity Lower Foreclosure Risk

The Urban Institute (UI) says the surge in
foreclosures predicted as the COVID-19 pandemic drove unemployment to the
highest level since the Great Depression may not materialize, even when the
current forbearances end. Two UI researchers, Michael Neal and Laurie Goodman,
say that even vulnerable homeowners may be spared, and they think they have identified
the reasons.

Mortgage
forbearance rates peaked at 8.55 percent of active mortgage in June 2020 and
began to fall when unemployment rates did. Since
October, however, both unemployment and forbearance rates have flattened. This
has heightened concern that many homeowners could face foreclosure later this year.

The authors say about a quarter of the 2.7 million
borrowers who remain in forbearance plans are continuing to make their
payments, but about 2.1 million are delinquent along with another 1.1 million
homeowners who are not in plans. Forbearance is now scheduled to end mid-year
and many borrowers who haven’t regained their pre-pandemic financial positions
may face the loss of their homes.

UI says this won’t necessarily
happen
, even among government loan borrowers whose risks are higher due to higher-initial-loan
to value (LTV) and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, lower credit scores and lower
incomes than borrowers with conventional loans. They may benefit from the large
amounts of home equity that borrowers have accumulated through home price
appreciation and the loss mitigation waterfalls
put in place by Fannie Mae,
Freddie Mac, the FHA VA, and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing (RH)
program.

Those
waterfalls, or forbearance off-ramps, allow borrowers options to pay back the past
due amounts
that accumulated during forbearance. The first step in the waterfall
is to repay the forborne amount in a lump sum or over a short period. But,
where a borrower is unable to increase their pre-forbearance payment, they can
revert to their pre-forbearance payment and move the forborne amount to the end
of the loan.

For an FHA mortgage, the forborne
amount becomes a “soft second” or a subordinate loan on which the borrower is
not required to make payments until the house is sold or refinanced. For a GSE
(Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loan, the mortgage term is extended. If the
borrower’s then current income is not enough to cover their original monthly
payment, they could qualify for a modification which would lower their monthly
payment. Loss mitigation options are also available to borrowers who did not
utilize forbearance. However, not all borrowers will qualify for a loan
modification and may have to exit homeownership.

Even where borrowers are not
financially stable when forbearance expires and do not qualify for a
modification, those with home equity could still exit the home with their
credit intact and possibly some cash in hand by selling their home and downsizing
or renting. Equity also increases the viability of the waterfall because
lenders are more likely to work out an alternative solution to foreclosure for a
delinquent homeowner who has it.

Of the 3.2 million currently delinquent
borrowers, 626,000 have government loans in Ginnie Mae securities and, because
the average LTV ratio at origination is 96.5 percent for FHA purchase
borrowers, 100 percent for VA loans, and 101 percent for USDA loans, these
borrowers will generally have less equity than those with GSE loans.

Goodman and Neal developed a
methodology to estimate the home equity for government loans that shows that
even among delinquent borrowers less than 1.0 percent have negative equity and
5.5 percent are near negative, a total of 3.6 percent. In the aftermath of the
Great Recession, the latter number was approximately 30 percent.

Further, they found the average
government loan borrower has 22 percent equity. Most of the 3,771 delinquent or
forborne borrowers in negative equity are VA borrowers (2,817), many of which
had origination LTVs of 100 percent. Another 1,000 in negative territory are evenly
split between FHA and RH. Nearly all the negative equity loans were originated
from 2018 to 2020, most in 2020.

The additional 5.5 percent of
borrowers with near-negative equity or less than 5 percent will have none left
after the transaction costs of selling. They have little incentive to sell by
themselves.  

Home price gains (60 percent from
early 2012 through late 2020) have pushed home prices up above their pre-recession
peak by an average of 19.7 percent
, but those increases have been uneven. Many areas
still have prices below the 2005-2006 levels. The share of mortgages with
negative equity range from 0.1 percent in several states to highs of 1.8
percent in Wisconsin and 1.4 percent in Illinois. The share of non-current borrowers
with negative equity or near-negative equity are mostly in the single digits,
with only Wisconsin, Illinois, and Alaska exceeding 10 percent.  These may
be the states that do see significant numbers of foreclosures.

The authors say that even as improvement in the forbearance
rates have slowed along with the decline in unemployment, they still expect far
fewer foreclosures than during and after the Great Recession. Many of today’s
homeowners in distress have both significant equity buffers and improved loss
mitigation tools. The extensions in forbearance terms announced earlier this
month will give struggling borrowers more time to benefit from improved
employment prospects as the economy recovers and to build an equity cushion;
this is particularly critical to homeowners without equity.  A further
extension in forbearance may well be necessary.

Source: mortgagenewsdaily.com

Black Knight Says Forbearance Extensions Could Change Landscape

There was a net decline of 1.6 percent in
the number of mortgages in forbearance
during the past week, a decrease of approximately
48,000 loans, as more plans that had expired at the end of January were
processed out of the system. After the number of forborne loans declined by
45,000 the previous week, Black Knight had estimated there were about 47,000
more January expirations pending either removal or a three-month extension of
their forbearance term.

The company, in its weekly report on
COVID-19 forbearances, said the expirations driving the improvements over the
past two weeks are of three-month terms. The maximum 12-month period would have
begun to hit at the end of March. However, earlier this week the Federal
Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that borrowers in Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac (GSE) forbearance plans may be eligible for an additional extension
of up to three months.

As of February 9, 2.67 million homeowners
remained in forbearance, 5.0 percent of all mortgage-holders, and representing
$532 billion in unpaid principal. Black Knight says this is the first time the
number has dropped below 2.7 million since early April 2020.

There were declines across all investor
types, the largest among loans serviced for bank portfolios and private label securities
(PLS). A net of 30,000 loans, 4.4 percent of those loans left the program.
Loans serviced for the VA and FHA had a reduction of 30,000 active plans or 1.1
percent and the GSE portfolio improved by 6,000 or 0.7 percent. As of February 9, there were 907,000 GSE loans, 1.114 FHA/VA
loans, and 650,000 portfolio/PLS loans remaining in forbearance plans. These​
represent 3.3, 9.2, and 5.0 percent of those respective portfolios.

Black Knight says that it bears
repeating that overall improvement in the number of active plans continues to
be limited. Monthly declines have been averaging less than 2.0 percent since
early December. The FHFA extension changes the landscape, of course, as roughly
30 percent of the remaining GSE forbearances had been set to expire at the end
of March.  Should Ginnie Mae extend the
FHA and VA plans to a maximum of 15 months and the current rate of improvement continues,
there would still be some 2.5M homeowners in forbearance at the end of June
when the first round hit of loans hit the new deadline.

Source: mortgagenewsdaily.com

Forbearances Fall Below 2.7M for First Time Since April: Black Knight

According to Black Knight’s McDash Flash Forbearance Tracker, the number of mortgages in active forbearance fell again this week, dropping 48,000 (-1.6%) from last Tuesday.

This decline was driven by January plan expirations, as was last week’s. It is also worth remembering that these are three-month increment expirations, not the 12-month final expiration point that existed until the FHFA’s announcement on Tuesday that borrowers in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forbearance plans may be eligible for an additional extension of up to three months.

In any case, as of February 9, there were 2.67M homeowners – 5% of all mortgage-holders – in active forbearance. This is the first time we’ve seen volumes below 2.7M since early April 2020.

Declines were seen across all investor classes. Plans among portfolio-held, and privately-securitized loans experienced the largest decline (-30,000 / -4.4%), followed by declines of 12,000 (-1.1%) and 6,000 (-0.7%) in active FHA/VA and GSE forbearances, respectively.

However, it bears repeating that overall improvement continues to be limited. Monthly declines have been averaging less than 2% since early December.

The FHFA extension changes the landscape, of course, as roughly 30% of the 907,000 existing GSE forbearances were previously set to expire at the end of March.

Should GNMA follow suit, and FHA/VA forbearance limits also be extended to 15 months, at the current rate of improvement there would still be some 2.5 million homeowners in forbearance at the end of June when the first round hit their new 15-month expirations.

Source: themortgageleader.com