Maui Real Estate Blog
What Does the end of Forbearance Mean for Borrowers and Maui The Real Estate Market?
The initial economic impacts of Covid-19 included lost jobs and disruption of income for large numbers of people around the globe. With the local Maui economy largely dependent upon tourism, our small island was among the nation’s hardest hit. The original CARES act that passed in the spring of 2020 offered relief to homeowners who struggled to pay their mortgages due to job loss or depressed wages. Those struggling homeowners were able to work with their lender to pause or reduce their mortgage payments for a period time. What started as a 6 month program was extended to 18 months. A total of over 7.25 million borrowers used forbearance as a means of relief for at least some period of time. That number of homeowners in forbearance is down to approximately 2,000,000 by around the end of June.
As of September, some of the borrowers who were among the first to enter the forbearance program will come to the end of their 18 month forbearance period. At this time, it does not appear as if there will be additional extensions of the program. What does the end of forbearance mean for those borrowers and the market as a whole?
The good news is that Fannie, Freddie and FHA are saying the right things about borrowers coming to the end of their forbearance. Recent guidelines released by those entities are focused on loan modifications for borrowers struggling to make their payments due to Covid related financial struggles. If you are a homeowner faced with the end of forbearance in the immediate future, remain proactive in your discussions with your mortgage holder. Ask about loan modification programs.
For those that may not be able to get a loan modification or the terms of a modification are too onerous, selling may be the only option. During the mortgage meltdown of the 2000s, borrowers struggled with the dual challenge of economic hardship and plunging prices. The result was a wave of foreclosures. Current market conditions couldn’t be more different as prices on island and for much of the continent climbed steadily over the last twelve months. The good news is that the recent appreciation should allow the majority of borrowers who need to sell to pay off the balance of their loan. That should significantly curtail the number of foreclosures. Feel free to Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are trying to get a sense of the current market value of your property. We would be more than willing to help out with a free broker’s price opinion.
Based on the above, it seems unlikely that the end of forbearance will significantly change the Maui market. The impact of the end of forbearance in the Canadian market seems to reinforce that notion. About 17% of the mortgages in Canada went into forbearance. As of February, 98% of the forbearance programs expired. As of the end of June, the average home price in Canada was up 25.9% year over year.
While the end of forbearance might lead to a small bump in inventory, a drastic influx of distressed property seems less likely. Real Estate economists are predicting a gradual increase in inventories as the year progresses. Post forbearance properties should be one component of that increase.
Maui Real Estate Blog
Potential Mortgage Relief
Maui depends on tourism for a significant part of its economy. Covid-19 and the ensuing shut down means a big loss of income for a number of Maui homeowners. If you are a Maui resident unable to pay your mortgage, there may be some mortgage relief options for you based on the CARES act.
To be eligible, your mortgage needs to be federally owned or backed by a federal agency. Relevant federal agencies include:
- Fannie Mae
- Freddie Mac
It’s pretty clear when your loan is HUD, USDA, FHA or VA. Fannie and Freddie back over 50% of the nation’s mortgages, but not all homeowners know or remember who backs their loan. You can check to see if your loan is backed by Fannie or if it is backed by Freddie.
If you are unable to pay your mortgage due to financial difficulties related to Covid-19, you can contact your mortgage servicer to request forbearance for 180 days. Forbearance allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage for that 180 day period. To be clear, this does not reduce the principal on your loan. You would still need to pay off the missed payments or the difference on the reduced payment in the future. You may apply for an additional 180 day forbearance if your financial situation does not improve by the end of the first 180 days. Your forebearance options may depend in part on your loan program. If you are concerned by impacts on your credit score, servicers must not report to the credit agencies a Borrower who is on an active forbearance, repayment, or trial period plan due to COVID-19 related hardship.
If you are facing foreclosure due to existing loan challenges, your loan servicer or lender may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18th. The CARES Act forbids beginning either judicial or non-judicial foreclosure proceedings. The Act also prohibits finalizing a foreclosure judgement or sale during this period.
Still Confused or Need Help?
The Consumer Finance Protection Board offers a guide to Coronavirus mortgage relief options that gives advice and provides a lot more detail. They provide important suggestions like questions to ask your mortgage servicer. You may also find your nearest housing councilor by calling by calling (800) 569-4287. If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage and you are not able to pay your mortgage, you should still contact your mortgage servicer to see what options they may have available to you. Last, but not least be wary of scams. Unscrupulous Sleazeballs will try to take advantage of the current situation. Lean heavily on the advice of the CFPB.