Why mortgage lending standards will ease in 2021

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Economists and housing experts say mortgage lending standards will likely loosen in 2021, despite the increased risk of delinquencies ahead.

Such a scenario illustrates the growing disparities in the U.S. housing market. As one struggling group of homeowners braces for the end of forbearance and navigates COVID-19-related economic shocks, another segment is better positioned than ever to scoop up properties that become available.

If this happens, it would prove a dramatic contrast to that of the financial crisis, in which lenders tightened credit standards from 2007 through 2010, said Curt Long, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions chief economist and vice president of research.

“Nevertheless, the fact that high-income households have fared so much better than low-income ones over the past year means that there may still be a lack of access to credit for low-income households even if underwriting standards do ease somewhat this year,” Long said.

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