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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Data: Black Knight; Chart: Axios Visuals

The federal government's foreclosure moratorium — designed to help homeowners weather the pandemic — is ending later this month. But that doesn't mean foreclosures are about to come roaring back.

Why it matters: The housing market is very tight, and people who lose their homes right now can find it very hard to find somewhere else to live. The good news, however, is that foreclosures are almost certain to remain extremely uncommon until 2022 at the earliest.

Driving the news: As the White House's moratorium is ending, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing a new rule, called Regulation X, that would effectively ban foreclosures until the end of 2021, while also making it easier to keep borrowers in their homes.

  • Reg X is not yet in force, but state regulators and the CFPB have made it clear to servicers that they will take a very dim view of any attempts to foreclose on houses in the interim period.

The big picture: About 7.2 million homeowners entered pandemic-related forbearance plans, but most of them have already successfully left that purgatory.

  • By the numbers: According to data from Black Knight, 46% are now reperforming on their loans, and another 17% have paid off their mortgage entirely, either by refinancing or by selling their house into the strong housing market.
  • About 2.1 million homeowners remain in forbearance. Even if they're behind on both mortgage payments and property taxes, the overwhelming majority of those homeowners still have substantial positive equity in their homes, says Black Knight economist Andy Walden.

What they're saying: "It’s almost the exact opposite of what we saw during the last financial crisis," Walden tells Axios.

  • Back then, millions of homeowners were underwater on their mortgages, "which really limited the options and created a snowball of distress."
  • Now, by contrast, rising prices create a lot more space for servicers to work out deals that keep borrowers in their homes.

"Next year there will be a lot of efforts to provide forbearances and workouts," adds Jorge Newbery, the CEO of AHP Servicing, which concentrates on the low-income borrowers most at risk of foreclosure. "Extra foreclosure activity will be modest."

The bottom line: There's a good possibility that foreclosures will rise above their pre-pandemic levels in 2023, once all other options have been tried and once the current backlog of court cases has begun to clear. For the time being, however, foreclosure is one thing that most homeowners don't need to worry about.

Go deeper

Building like it's 2007

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of new homes under construction has soared — to levels not seen since the housing market crash 14 years ago.

Why it matters: Home prices have been surging as the demand for houses has outpaced supply. Homebuilders are doing what they can to keep up, but supply chain bottlenecks have led some to turn away buyers as they try to catch up.

Treasury sanctions cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware transactions

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a congressional hearing in June 2021. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of the Treasury announced Tuesday it will sanction cryptocurrency exchange SUEX for allegedly facilitating financial transactions for multiple ransomware actors.

Why it matters: The sanctions, the first against a cryptocurrency exchange platform, are a part of the Biden administration's crackdown on ransomware in response to several high-profile cyberattacks this year.

Biden pledges to double U.S. climate funding to developing nations

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 21, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

Staring down a "borderless climate crisis," President Biden told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that the U.S. will double public financial assistance to developing countries, including money to help them adapt to present-day climate impacts.

Why it matters: The failure of industrialized nations to fulfill a 2009 pledge to devote $100 billion annually to developing countries is a major impediment to a successful UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, which starts next month.

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