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What happens when Boston condo owners leave forbearance

Another update on the forbearance exits. Nobody is going to get foreclosed in Downtown Boston County’s coastal region, mostly because of the ample equity position every homeowner has in place – but those positions could cause them to sell. Won’t the homeowners be spoiled from the 12+ months of free rent, and, once they recognize the alternatives (renting for ridiculous rates here or moving out of state), be more likely to work out a payment plan with their lender? Yes! But this would be a good time for a surge, if it happens!

Black Knight estimates that nearly 630,000 forbearance plans, more than one-third of those currently active, are slated for review this month. Of those, 400,000 will have reached the end of their 18 months of forbearance eligibility unless the maximum term is extended again.

The end of August saw a significant decline in forbearance numbers as servicers worked through the month’s crop of three-month reviews. Plans declined by 53,000 over the week ended August 31 with more than 23,000 from FHA or VA portfolios. The number of GSE (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loans dropped by 20,000 and loans serviced for bank portfolios or private label securities (PLS) saw a 10,000 unit decline. The number of plans is down by 9 percent since the end of July.

Black Knight estimates that approximately 1.71 million borrowers remain in forbearance, 3.2 percent of the 53 million outstanding mortgages. Those loans have an unpaid balance of $331 billion. The total includes 514,000 GSE loans, 676,000 FHA and VA loans, and 520,000 portfolio/PLS loans. The loans remaining in forbearance represent 1.8 percent of the GSEs’ totals and 5.6 percent and 4.0 percent of FHA/VA and portfolio/PLS loans, respectively.

http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/09032021_black_knight_forbearances.asp

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According to the latest report from Black Knight, Inc., a well-respected provider of data and analytics for mortgage companies, 6.48 million households have entered a forbearance plan as a result of financial concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s where these homeowners stand right now:

  • 2,543,000 (39%) are current on their payments and have left the program
  • 625,000 (9%) have paid off their mortgages
  • 434,000 (7%) have negotiated a repayment plan and have left the program
  • 2,254,000 (35%) have extended their original forbearance plan
  • 512,000 (8%) are still in their original forbearance plan
  • 116,000 (2%) have left the program and are still behind on payments

This shows that of the almost 3.72 million homeowners who have left the program, only 116,000 (2%) exited while they were still behind on their payments. There are still 2.77 million borrowers in a forbearance program. No one knows for sure how many of those will become foreclosures. There are, however, three major reasons why most experts believe there will not be a tsunami of foreclosures as we saw during the housing crash over a decade ago:

  1. Almost 30% of borrowers in forbearance are still current on their mortgage payments.
  2. Banks likely don’t want to repeat the mistakes of 2008-2012 when they put large numbers of foreclosures on their books. This time, many will instead negotiate a modification plan with the borrower, which will enable households to maintain ownership of the home.
  3. With the significant equity homeowners have today, many will be able to sell instead of going into foreclosure.

Will there be foreclosures coming to the market? Yes. There are hundreds of thousands of foreclosures in this country each year. People experience economic hardships, and in some cases, are not able to meet their mortgage obligations.

Here’s the breakdown of new foreclosures over the last three years, prior to the pandemic:

  • 2017: 314,220
  • 2018: 279,040
  • 2019: 277,520

Through the first three quarters of 2020 (the latest data available), there were only 114,780 new foreclosures. If 10% of those currently in forbearance go to foreclosure, 275,000 foreclosures would be added to the market in 2021. That would be an average year as the numbers above show.

What happens if the number of real estate owners is more than 10%?

If we do experience a higher foreclosure rate from those in forbearance, most experts believe the current housing market will easily absorb the excess inventory. We entered 2020 with 1,210,000 single-family homes available for purchase. At the time, that was low and problematic. The market was experiencing high buyer demand, and we needed more houses to meet that demand. We’re now entering 2021 with 320,000 fewer homes for sale, while buyer demand remains extremely strong. This means the housing market has the capacity to soak up a lot of inventory.

Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

There will be more foreclosures entering the Boston real estate market later this year, especially compared to the record-low numbers in 2020. However, the market will be able to handle the increase as Boston condo buyer demand remains strong.

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