Forbearance rate drops to 4.5%

As the economy slowly recovers from the early days of the pandemic, the share of loans in forbearance dropped for the seventh consecutive week, signifying a 40-basis-point decrease in the last two weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA).

The MBA’s latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey showed that the total loans in forbearance are down 16 basis points from 4.66% to 4.50% as of April 11.

MBA estimates 2.3 million homeowners are in forbearance plans, and the rates dropped for all investor categories. The share of Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance decreased 17 basis points from 6.33% to 6.16% relative to the previous week, while the share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance decreased eight basis points from 2.52% to 2.44%. The share of other loans, such as PLS and portfolio loans, decreased 31 basis points from 8.65% to 8.34%.

The survey also reported that 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.

The cumulative forbearance exits from June 1, 2020 to April 11 showed that 26.7% resulted in loan deferral or partial claim. Almost 26% of borrowers continued to make their monthly payments during their forbearance period, while almost 15% of borrowers did not make all of their monthly payments and exited forbearance without a loss mitigation plan in place.

Another 14.5% resulted in reinstatements, in which past-due amounts are paid back while exiting forbearance. The remaining exits resulted in loan modifications or trial loan modifications, loans paid off through either a refinance or by selling the home, repayment plans, short sales, deed-in-lieus or other reasons.

“Economic data on home construction and consumer spending in March show a strong housing market and a quickened pace of economic activity,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s senior vice president and chief economist, said in a press release.

Fratantoni added that combined with the homeowner assistance and stimulus payments that many households are receiving, it is anticipated that the forbearance numbers will continue to decline in the months ahead as more individuals regain employment. He recommended that homeowners reach out to their servicers if they are experiencing hardship and need to extend their forbearance.

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