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Data: Mortgage Bankers Association; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of U.S. mortgages in forbearance increased again in the last full week of April, but new requests slowed significantly from the pace earlier this year, data released Monday by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed.

Why it matters: A total of 3.8 million homeowners are now in forbearance plans, accounting for 7.54% of all mortgages, but that may actually be a good thing.

What's happening: Forbearance requests as a percentage of servicing portfolio volume fell for the third consecutive week, from 1.14% to 0.63%, and calls about forbearance accounted for the lowest percentage of total calls since the survey began in early March.

  • MBA said forbearance requests grew 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.

How it works: The decline in requests and approvals for forbearance suggests that homeowners are still largely able to pay their mortgages, Jaret Seiberg, a researcher at financial services company Cowen Inc., says in a recent note.

  • "We believe Washington is confident that mortgage servicers can handle the current level of forbearance. Absent a surge, we do not see the Federal Reserve establishing a facility to provide additional liquidity as it won't be needed."
  • And the current $6.3 billion in savings is available to "be spent elsewhere in the economy."

Between the lines: "Forbearance is not forgiveness, so homeowners know that they are going to have to pay this money some day," Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, tells Axios.

  • "Typically if you own a house you’re financially savvy enough to know that a foreclosure process can take years, so you know you have some protection."

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

Go deeper

Updated Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy, large study shows — FDA authorizes mix-and-match for booster shots — J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year.
  2. Health: Cases and deaths keep falling — White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11 — The global coronavirus vaccine gap — Gates Foundation to send $120 million of antiviral pills to lower-income countries.
  3. Politics: Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates — Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Aug 13, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable

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

America's coronavirus outbreak is slowing down after a summer of explosive growth.

By the numbers: The U.S. is averaging roughly 52,000 new cases per day — still a lot of cases, but about 10.5% fewer than it was averaging last week.

The pandemic is hitting city budgets harder than the Great Recession

Expand chart
Data: National League of Cities; Chart: Axios Visuals

With tax revenue in free-fall and expenditures dramatically rising, the coronavirus pandemic is on pace to hit cities' finances even harder than the Great Recession.

Why it matters: Almost all cities are required to balance their budgets, and at this rate they'll have no choice but to cut more services, layoff or furlough more workers and freeze capital projects.