Mortgage forbearance rate holds steady but shows signs of weakness

Analysts stressed there were "pockets of weakness" in the November data

Mortgage forbearance rate holds steady but shows signs of weakness

Mortgage loan forbearances remained relatively flat in November, a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association revealed.

MBA’s Loan Monitoring Survey showed that the total number of loans currently in forbearance held steady at 0.70% as of November 30. Around 350,000 homeowners are estimated to be in forbearance plans.

However, Marina Walsh, vice president of industry analysis at MBA, pointed out that there were “pockets of weakness in the November data, despite the forbearance rate remaining unchanged and the overall loan performance of serviced loans staying mostly flat.”

“The forbearance rate for Ginnie Mae loans increased for the fourth consecutive month, and the overall performance of the portfolio declined for the third consecutive month,” she said. “Furthermore, the performance of government post-forbearance workouts also weakened.”

The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance increased by one basis point to 0.32%, and Ginnie Mae forbearances increased five basis points to 1.46%. Meanwhile, the forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities (PLS) declined six basis points to 0.97%.

“With many indicators pointing to a recession and higher unemployment in 2023, many of the most vulnerable homeowners will be those with FHA, VA, or other government loans. Loss mitigation options may help to ease the financial hardship for these homeowners,” Walsh said.