CFPB Report: Share of Delinquent Mortgages Doubles During Pandemic

The number of homeowners that are behind on their mortgage has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic, with 6% of mortgages in delinquency as of December 2020, according to a new report issued by the CFPB today. A total of 2.1 million mortgages are considered “seriously delinquent,” with borrowers more than 90 days behind on making their payments, and in addition, an estimated 8.8 million tenant households are behind on their rent, the bureau found.

While COVID-19 relief programs have reduced the number of foreclosures and evictions thus far, the bureau estimated that 11 million families could be at risk of losing their homes as COVID-19 relief measures expire. As of January 2021, there were 2.7 million borrowers in active forbearance—and of those, more than 900,000 will have been in forbearance for over a year as of April 2021.

The CFPB noted that 263,000 seriously delinquent borrowers have not taken forbearance to date, and warned that should COVID-19 relief options expire before they do so, they would have limited options to avoid foreclosure. On a positive note, however, the bureau found that “most borrowers that have exited forbearance have been able to resume their payments without issue.”

In a blog post, acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio acknowledged the efforts of mortgage servicers and landlords throughout the pandemic to help keep borrowers and renters in their homes, noting that “most mortgage servicers are working hard to engage with the record number of homeowners in forbearance and the many other homeowners struggling to make payments.”