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.

Pete Jalbert

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