Residential Foreclosures and Forbearances, Revisited

July 21, 2020

Residential Foreclosures and Forbearances

The Greater Phoenix residential real estate market has been marching along, not affected as much by COVID-19 as one might have assumed from the overall economic challenges.

Earlier this month, we anticipated that the moratorium on foreclosures—originally scheduled to lift on June 30—was going to start rippling through the market and adding to supply. [] However, many government sponsored or insured loans now allow for forbearance.  This provides a homeowner/borrower with up to 6 months of loan payment deferral for any FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, VA and USDA loan.  These options, provided by the CARES Act, are available until December 31, 2020, or until the national emergency is rescinded, whichever is sooner. Government-backed lenders (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, VA, FHA, and USDA) are now working with borrowers, who can provide an attestation—a statement that they are in hardship due to COVID-19 and need more time. The bank cannot ask them for financials or termination documents, but the lender must hold out on any activity against the borrower. It is important to note that forbearance is not equivalent to forgiveness. Depending on the program, the lender might tack payments on the back end of the loan or after the forbearance is over.

The new deadline eviction protections for single-family properties is now October 31, 2020, through Governor Ducey’s executive order of July 16, 2020, which provides continued protections for renters who are facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19

These programs are good for the consumer, in the sense that the US government is stepping up to provide them with some breathing room, but they do not come without hazards. Taxpayers will end up paying for all of this down the road.

What to Do If You Are Experiencing Hardship

If you are currently experiencing hardship with paying your mortgage, this is a time to take a good, careful look at your alternatives. In addition to a discussion with your financial advisor, it may also be prudent to talk with a real estate expert. With inventory moving as quickly as it is, and with supply as low as it is, this can be an excellent opportunity to sell—particularly if you have concerns about employment or other financial issues in the coming months resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. It is advisable to bring those issues ahead sooner rather than later, and avoid waiting until the forbearance period is over.

During times of uncertainty, you need a steady, experienced hand in selling and buying homes or commercial investment properties. Contact R.O.I. Properties at 602-319-1326, or [email protected].

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