According to Mortgage Bankers Association's estimate, 2.6 million U.S. homeowners are in forbearance plans in early March. The Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 6 basis points from 5.20% of servicers' portfolio volume in the prior week to 5.14% as of March 7, 2021.
The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance decreased to 2.88% - a 6-basis-point improvement. Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance decreased 12 basis points to 7.16%, while the forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities (PLS) remained unchanged relative to the prior week at 9.05%. The percentage of loans in forbearance for independent mortgage bank (IMB) servicers decreased 6 basis points to 5.45%, and the percentage of loans in forbearance for depository servicers declined 9 basis points to 5.19%.
"One year after the onset of the pandemic, many homeowners are approaching 12 months in their forbearance plan. That is likely why call volume to servicers picked up in the prior week to the highest level since last April, and forbearance exits increased to their highest level since January. With new forbearance requests unchanged, the share of loans in forbearance decreased again," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. "Homeowners with federally backed loans have access to up to 18 months of forbearance, but they need to contact their servicer to receive this additional relief."
Fratantoni added, "The American Rescue Plan provides needed support for homeowners who are continuing to struggle during these challenging times, and stimulus payments are being delivered to households now. We anticipate that this support, along with the improving job market, will help many homeowners to get back on their feet."