number of loans in COVID-19 forbearance plans last week rose for the third
consecutive week during the period ended December 29. Black Knight said a 15,000-loan
increase in the number of forborne loans brought the total to its highest level
since early November. However, despite
three consecutive weekly rises, the number of active plans only stands 13,000
higher than the same point in late November.
Part of last week’s increase was due
to the limited number of loans removed from the rolls, the fewest since the
start of the pandemic. A drop off in removals has been noted fairly consistently
late in each month, but according to the company, may have been more pronounced
during the holidays. There were nearly 270,000 plans due to expire at the end
of December so the company says it is possible there will be a heightened number of removals during this coming week.
Forbearances totaled 2.83 million at the
end of the reporting period. This is 5.3 percent of the 53 million active
mortgages in the U.S. and represents as aggregate unpaid balance of $568
FHA/VA forbearances increased by 11,000
from the previous week, reaching a total of 1.164 million loans or 9.6 percent
of those portfolios. Loans serviced for bank portfolios and private label
securities (PLS) grew by 4,000 to 700,000 or 5.4 percent. Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac (GSE) forbearances were largely unchanged at 964,000 loans or 3.5
percent of their portfolios.
The number of forbearance plan
starts were also down, hitting the lowest level since the start of the
pandemic, another possible result of the holidays. Start volumes have now
fallen in each of the last three weeks.