Apr 14, 2020 - Economy

Coronavirus is upending the U.S. mortgage market

Illustration of a pattern of houses made of money.

Photo: Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

More than 2 million U.S. mortgage holders are now in forbearance, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association show, and forbearance requests jumped 78% for the week ending April 5.

By the numbers: The increase in requests is actually an exponential decline. Forbearance requests rose by 1,270% between the week of March 2 and the week of March 16, and another 1,896% between the week of March 16 and the week of March 30, MBA reported last week.

  • Nearly 4% of all U.S. home loans are now in forbearance, MBA said.

The state of play: "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," MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni said in a statement.

Between the lines: S&P Global warned in a note Monday that "servicers may not have adequate staff in place to handle the vast work volumes, and the enormous amounts of forbearance requests will result in very large sums of capital needed to meet servicers advancing requirements."

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