Oct 21, 2020 - Economy

Government forbearance programs are keeping homeowners afloat

Reproduced from National Multifamily Housing Council; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from National Multifamily Housing Council; Chart: Axios Visuals

While headlines caution that 6 million people fell behind on their rent or mortgages last month, that number includes many who are supported by government forbearance programs, meaning they face no penalty for missing payments.

Zoom in: The Mortgage Bankers Association found that 3.4 million mortgage payments were missed in September, but the group's own data also show 3.4 million homeowners were enrolled in federal forbearance programs that month.

  • Data from the National Multifamily Housing Council show that 94.6% of Americans paid their rent by month-end in September, nearly identical to the 95.5% who did so in September 2019, and October rent payments are tracking at similar levels to 2019 as well.
  • Data on lower-income rental units show lower payment rates, but at numbers that are broadly in line with 2019, MBA's Fratantoni tells Axios.

"It’s surprising to the extent that six months ago I would’ve expected to see much more distress, particularly on the rental side," Fratantoni says.

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