Nearly 29% of Americans plan to pay mortgage with their stimulus checks, Can the housing market survive COVID-19 through the first half of 2020?, Mortgages in Forbearance Increase to More Than 3%

Mortgage News for 4/17/2020

Nearly 29% of Americans plan to pay mortgage with their stimulus checks

As the first batch of taxpayers wait for their stimulus checks to arrive in the coming weeks, more than a quarter of Americans have decided to spend their relief money on rent or mortgage.

Eligible Americans can receive a one-time $1,200 payment from the federal government as part of a $2 trillion relief package intended to help counter the negative financial and economic impacts of coronavirus.

But even with the government relief package, most low-income households are forced to pick between paying rent and putting food on the table. MagnifyMoney's latest survey findings revealed that food and bills are on top of the lists of almost half of more than 1,000 respondents, with 44.5% making groceries a priority and 42.6% adding bills.

Among the majority who see the stimulus as a necessity, 28.5% of respondents plan to pay their rent and mortgages using the money. Others said they would put some (26%) or all of it (17.6%) in savings, pay credit card debt (15.2%), or other debt (7%). Around 6.2% of respondents were unsure of what to do with their stimulus check.

Meanwhile, those who don't necessarily need the money are thinking of donating some (4.3%) or all of it (2.3%) to charity, pay off student debt (3.6%), splurge (4%), and going on a post-pandemic vacation (2.2%).

LendingTree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz emphasized the importance of carefully planning how people should use their stimulus checks.

"If you can put some of the check away to start an emergency fund or build up your current one, that's probably ideal," Schulz said.
"That's not the reality for millions of Americans, though. For many, this will be about keeping the lights on or putting food on the table. That's why these checks are so, so important."

For those who want to use their checks to get rid of debt, Schulz stressed the value of an emergency fund as well.

“It's obviously great to pay down debt, but far too often, people pay off debt and have no savings at all," he said.
"That means that if an unexpected expense comes up, that cost goes right back on the credit card, and the person is right back in debt. Having even a little bit of cash in savings can help avoid that situation."

For those who are on sound financial footing, Schulz points out that "growing your rainy-day fund, paying off credit card debt, bulking up your retirement savings, and supporting your community by spending on small businesses or nonprofits" are a few smart ways to use that money.

Source: Mortgage Professional America 4-13-2020 Author: Candyd Mendoza

Can the housing market survive COVID-19 through the first half of 2020?

With housing markets taking a hard hit from the coronavirus-induced shutdown, both borrowers and lenders can expect a not-so-typical spring homebuying season, according to Freddie Mac.

For the past few weeks, mortgage rates have reached record-low levels. Freddie expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to average 3.3% in 2020 and 3.1% in 2021.

Overall annual mortgage origination levels will hover at $2.4 trillion in 2020 and 2021, with refinance originations coming in at $1,260 billion and purchase originations to drop to $1,091 billion in 2020, Freddie Mac predicted. In 2021, refinance originations are expected to slow down to $1,032 billion, while purchase originations would jump to $1,338 billion.

“Undoubtedly, the housing market is facing its greatest challenge in over a decade as our nation weathers this unprecedented economic event,” said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater.
“Although the uncertainty of the crisis means forecasts of economic activity are more unclear than usual, we expect that most of the economic damage from the virus will be contained to the first half of the year."

US home prices, which have shown steady growth in February, will decelerate to an annual rate of 0.4% in 2020 before rising to 0.7% in 2021.

Pending home sales were also rising at a stable, month-over-month pace of 2.4% before the outbreak, according to the National Association of Realtors. But the forecast anticipates home sales to fall to 5.1 million homes this year before recovering to 6.1 million homes next year.

"Going forward, we should see a recovery starting in the second half of 2020, though it will take some time for the economy to fully bounce back," Khater said.

Source: Mortgage Professional America 4-15-2020 Author: Candyd Mendoza

Mortgages in Forbearance Increase to More Than 3%

A new survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) found that the number of home loans in forbearance rose from 2.73% to 3.74% during the week of March 30 to April 5.

Mortgages backed by Ginnie Mae had the largest weekly growth of 1.58% and the highest overall share in forbearance requests (5.89%).

"The nationwide shutdown of the economy to slow the spread of COVID-19 continues to create hardships for millions of households, and more are contacting their servicers for relief in accordance with the forbearance provisions under the CARES Act," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's SVP and Chief Economist.
"The share of loans in forbearance grew the first week of April, and forbearance requests and call center volume further increased. With mitigation efforts seemingly in place for at least several more weeks, job losses will continue and the number of borrowers asking for forbearance will likely continue to rise at a rapid pace."

The MBA added that as of March 2, just 0.25% of all loans were in forbearance.

The share of loans in forbearance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose from the prior weeks’ 1.69% to 2.44%.

Requests for comment by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac were not returned by press.

Ginnie Mae was the loan organization who offered comments, saying that its enhanced Pass-Through Assistance Program is in place to help servicers impacted by deferred or reduced mortgage payments.

“We see that program as an extraordinary and last resort option for our Issuers in these unprecedented times to serve homeowners and renters in America who rely on government mortgage programs financed by Ginnie Mae,” Ginnie Mae said in a statement.
“This program is intended to minimize disruptions in the mortgage servicing market as servicers work to provide relief to borrowers affected by the COVID-19 National Emergency.”

Analysis from Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor Report found that if 5% of homeowners seek forbearance, servicers would need to advance more than $2.1 billion in principal and interest per month to security holders. If the number of homeowners seeking forbearance rises to 10%, the monthly cost could jump to $4.2 billion.

“The various forbearance programs being offered to borrowers via the recently passed CARES Act, as well as via individual agencies and mortgage servicers, are a key difference today,” Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske said.

However, a growing number of lawmakers are looking to the federal government to step in to support mortgage servicers. Twenty Republican members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting assistance.

“The mortgage industry cannot shoulder the entire onus of government actions to protect American homeowners impacted by COVID-19 when it does not have access to needed liquidity to execute on those government actions,” the letter states.

The letter continued by saying,

“the best way to protect the American taxpayer would be to create a facility now—in hope that it never needs to be used—than to wait for a market disruption when it may be too late. The mere creation of such a facility may provide a level of support to the market without its even being utilized.”

Source: MReport 4-14-2020 Author: Daily Dose

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