FHFA extends foreclosure, eviction moratorium to February

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Tuesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will once again extend moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned evictions, this time until Feb. 28, 2021.

“To keep our communities safe, and families in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHFA is extending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said.

This marks the fifth time the FHFA has extended the eviction and foreclosure moratorium on a program originally set to expire in June 2020. Most recently, the eviction moratorium was set to expire on Jan. 31, 2021.

The foreclosure moratorium applies to GSE-backed, single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by a GSE through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions.

The FHFA projects the COVID-19 foreclosure moratorium and its extension will create an additional $1.4 to $2 billion in expenses for the government-sponsored enterprises.

The U.S. forbearance rate fell seven basis points at the beginning of January to 5.46% of servicer’s portfolio volume, according to a survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association. As of that week’s data set, forbearance portfolio share is now below numbers Black Knight reported in mid-April of 2020.

Overall, forbearances are decreasing, but the speed at which they are declining is beginning to slow. The latest forbearance numbers from MBA marked the eleventh consecutive week servicers portfolios have hovered between 5% and 6% – the longest a percentage range has held since the survey’s origins in May.

Last week the FHFA announced it extended relaxed lending and appraisal standards put in place due to COVID-19 another month for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The flexibilities surrounding alternative verifications of employment and appraisals were set to expire on Jan. 31, 2021, however, the government entity is now pushing that back to at least Feb. 28, 2021.

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