Improvement in forbearance numbers speeds up – Black Knight

Active forbearance plans have tumbled by 1.17 million from their May peak

Improvement in forbearance numbers speeds up – Black Knight

The pace of improvement in the number of mortgages in active forbearance improved this week, according to new data from Black Knight.

The number of mortgages in active forbearance plans fell by 95,000 over the past week, Black Knight reported. That’s a decrease of 2.6%. This marks five consecutive weeks of improvement and puts the number of loans in active forbearance 24% below the peak in late May, a decline of 1.17 million since then.

As of Tuesday, 3.6 million homeowners remained in COVID-19-related forbearance plans, or 6.8% of all active mortgages, according to Black Knight. That’s down from 7% last week. Together, all mortgages currently in forbearance represent $751 billion in unpaid principal.

Servicers are continuing to assess September-scheduled forbearance expirations for extensions and removals, according to Black Knight. As of Tuesday, 1.1 million forbearance plans were set to expire this month, down from 1.7 million last week.

“With more than a million forbearance plans for which September’s mortgage payment was the last payment covered under forbearance plan, significant removal/extension activity is still likely over the next few weeks,” Black Knight said.

Currently, 4.8% of all GSE-backed loans and 11.1% of all FHA/VA loans are in forbearance plans. Another 7.1% of loans in private-label securities and banks’ portfolios are in forbearance.

This week’s decline was driven primarily by forbearance plans among portfolio-held mortgages, which posted a drop of 51,000 (8%) from last week. During the same period, forbearance plans among GSE loans fell by 20,000 from last week, while FHA/VA loans were down 17,000, Black Knight reported.

Over the past month, forbearance volumes have fallen by 9%, with 357,000 fewer active COVID-19-related forbearance plans than at the same time in August, Black Knight said.