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Mortgage

Mortgage forbearances rise after three weeks of decline

8.8% of U.S. mortgages have suspended payments, up from 8.7% last week, Black Knight says

Mortgage forbearances rose this week after three consecutive declines, Black Knight said in a report on Friday.

There were 4.68 million homeowners with forbearance plans this week, meaning their mortgage payments are temporarily suspended, up 79,000 from the prior week, Black Knight said. The total represents 8.8% of all active mortgages, up from 8.7%, the report said.

Broken out by investor types, 6.9% of mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in forbearance, up from 6.8% last week. That’s a total of 1.93 million mortgages with $405 billion in unpaid principal, the report said.

The forbearance share for home loans backed the Federal Housing Administration was 14.7%, up from 14.3%, and the share for mortgages backed by the Veterans Administration was 7.5%, up from 7.3%, according to Black Knight.

Together, the FHA and VA loans represent $258 billion of unpaid principal, the mortgage data firm said.

In addition, there are 1.5 million private-market mortgages in forbearance, representing a 9.6% share, up from 9.5% last week, Black Knight said.

Private-market mortgages aren’t backed by a government agency or a GSE. They could be jumbo mortgages held by banks or home loans packaged into private-label bonds. The unpaid principal balance for those mortgages is $361 billion.

At this week’s level for all types of mortgages in forbearance, servicers need to advance a combined $5.7 billion a month in principal and interest payments to holders of government-backed mortgage securities on COVID-19-related forbearances, the report said.

In April, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said servicers handling GSE-backed mortgages were only required to advance four months of missed payments for loans in forbearance. After that, the servicer is under “no further obligation to advance scheduled payments,” the agency said.

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