Active forbearance plans fell again this week, dropping by another 19,000 (-0.7%) from last Tuesday. In total, this puts the number of active plans down by 134,000 over the last month – a 5% reduction. This monthly decline represents the strongest rate of improvement since late November 2020 and is a direct result of servicers working through the 1.2 million plans that entered this month with scheduled March month-end expirations for extension and/or removal.
Of particular note when taking a look at this week’s numbers: even with such strong monthly improvement, there are still more than 460,000 active plans with March month-end expirations, which provides the potential for additional improvement in the coming weeks.
This week’s decrease was driven by improvements among both GSE (-21,000) and FHA/VA plans (-10,000), while active plan volumes rose among portfolio/PLS mortgages (+12,000). As of March 23, 2.57 million homeowners remain in forbearance, representing 4.9% of all homeowners with mortgages.
Early extension activity suggests that mortgage servicers continue to approach forbearance plans in three-month increments, with the bulk of would-be March expirations being extended out through June. Plan extensions have accounted for 75% of all extension/removal activity in recent weeks, but removals are up simply as a result of the volume of expirations that were scheduled for this month.
Finally, the McDash Flash Payment Tracker shows that 90.7% of observed borrowers had made their payment through March 22, up from 89.8% at the same time in February suggesting that the recent improvement in outstanding mortgage delinquencies may resume in March after taking a step back last month. We’ll keep watching to see if this upward trend continues, and will post another weekly update on this blog next Friday, April 2.