Forbearance hits new low

by Ryan Smith05 Aug 2020

The total number of mortgages in forbearance has hit its lowest level since April, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The total share of loans in forbearance dropped seven basis points, to 7.67% of servicers’ portfolio volume as of July 26 from 7.74% the week before. MBA estimates that 3.8 million homeowners are currently in forbearance plans.

The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance saw an eight-basis-point improvement, dropping to 5.41%. This is the eighth straight week that the share of GSE loans in forbearance has fallen. Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance increased one basis point to 10.28%, while the forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities fell by 16 basis points to 10.37%.

The share of loans in forbearance for depository servicers fell to 7.95%, while the share of loans in forbearance for independent mortgage bank servicers fell to 7.81%.

“The share of loans in forbearance declined, but we are now seeing a notable pattern developing over the past two weeks,” said Mike Fratantono, MBA senior vice president and chief economist. “The forbearance share is decreasing for GSE loans but has slightly increased for Ginnie Mae loans. The job market has cooled somewhat over the past few weeks, with layoffs increasing and other indications that the economic rebound may be losing some steam because of the rising COVID-19 cases throughout the country. It is therefore not surprising to see this situation first impact the Ginnie Mae segment of the market.”

Total forbearance requests as a percentage of servicing portfolio volume were also down from the prior week, dropping from 0.13% to 0.1% – the lowest reported level since early March.