Newsletter - August 2021
The federal eviction and foreclosure bans officially expired July 31, but protections are still in place to prevent people from losing their homes — or at least delay it for a bit longer.
At the end of July, the Biden administration announced new loan modification and payment-reduction options that can reduce homeowners’ monthly payments by up to 25%. The program applies to borrowers whose loans are backed by the Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, or Veterans Affairs agencies. (The assistance is similar to what has already been made available to borrowers who have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages.)
Another option the program provides homeowners is the ability to extend their loan up to 360 months at the market rate.
And, as we wrote about last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a new rule in June that helps borrowers who are more than four months behind on their mortgage payments to avoid foreclosure. The rule stipulates that before they can start the foreclosure process, servicers must either give homeowners the option to resume regular payments and move missed payments to the end of the mortgage, modify the length or interest rate of the loan, or sell the home.
Finally, in response to Biden’s July 29 announcement that federal agencies can use their authority to extend their respective eviction bans, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) extended its moratorium through Sept. 30 for foreclosed borrowers and their occupants.
“We must continue to do everything within our authority to make sure that foreclosed borrowers who are impacted by the pandemic have the time and resources to secure safe and stable housing,” said Lopa P. Kolluri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing. “We don’t want to see any individuals or families displaced unnecessarily while trying to recover from the pandemic.”
About 1.8 million homeowners were still in forbearance as the federal foreclosure ban was lifted and an additional 1.5 million, who were not in forbearance, were at least three months behind on mortgage payments. While concerning, that’s a significantly smaller number than the more than 7 million borrowers who entered forbearance during the pandemic — and a small fraction of the country’s estimated 53 million borrowers.
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