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Photo: Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images

The total number of home loans now in forbearance increased to 8.36%, according to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, and that number could be higher but many Americans aren't aware they have the option.

What it means: Fannie Mae's latest national housing survey finds that only half of mortgage holders and just a third of renters know about relief programs, including the forbearance program now available because of the CARES Act.

Details: The survey finds that just half of mortgage holders understand what forbearance is.

  • One in three don’t understand what a loan modification entails. 
  • More than 60% of homeowners with a mortgage were unaware of any mortgage payment deferral offer from their lender.

Why it matters: The increase of borrowers in forbearance has slowed rapidly in recent weeks, but could pick up steam again once more borrowers learn about the programs.

  • That could provide an additional boost to the economy, but could also spell trouble for mortgage servicers and the mortgage-backed securities market.

The big picture: The current level of borrowers taking advantage of the forbearance program means that American consumers have $7.9 billion a month available to spend that otherwise might be going to a monthly mortgage payment, according to an analysis by Cowen Research Group.

Go deeper: Coronavirus is squeezing more people out of the housing market

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

Household debt and credit delinquencies dropped during Q2

Reproduced from New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans cut back on credit cards and increased savings during the worst three-month economic period in U.S. history, as household debt fell for the first time in six years, data from the New York Fed showed.

By the numbers: Total debt declined 0.2% to $14.27 trillion in the second quarter, led by a $76 billion drop in outstanding credit-card balances.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.