Black Knight: Number of Homeowners in COVID-19-Related Forbearance Plans Declines Slightly

Note: Both Black Knight and the MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) are putting out weekly estimates of mortgages in forbearance.

From Black Knight: Black Knight: Number of Homeowners in COVID-19-Related Forbearance Plans Falls for First Time Since Crisis Began; 8.9% of All Mortgages Now in Forbearance

• According to the McDash Flash Forbearance Tracker, as of June 2, 2020, 4.73 million homeowners – or 8.9% of all mortgages – are in COVID-19 mortgage forbearance plans

• Active forbearance volumes decreased by a net 34,000 over the past week, marking the first weekly decline since the crisis began

• According to the McDash Flash Payment Tracker, as of May 26, a significantly lower share of homeowners in forbearance had remitted May payments (22%) than did in April (46%), pointing to another likely rise in the delinquency rate for May

“After rising sharply in April and then leveling off toward the end of May, the number of American homeowners in forbearance plans has now decreased for the first time since the crisis began,” said Jabbour. “There were a net 34,000 fewer homeowners in forbearance as of June 2. The decline was actually greater among government-backed mortgages, which saw 43,000 fewer total forbearance plans than last week, but this was partially offset by an increase of 9,000 new plans on mortgages held in bank portfolios and private-label securities.”

The McDash Flash Forbearance tracker shows that the 4.73 million loans in forbearance represent 8.9% of all active mortgages and account for a little over $1 trillion in unpaid principal. An estimated 7.1% of all GSE-backed loans and 12.3% of FHA/VA mortgages are now in forbearance.

“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.”
emphasis added

CR Note: The delinquency rate in April increased sharply to 6.45%, but it would have been much higher if so many borrowers in forbearance hadn’t made their mortgage payments (unpaid loans in forbearance are counted as delinquent in the survey).  It appears there will be another significant increase in the delinquency rate in May.