Report outlines which mortgage borrowers faced biggest challenges during pandemic

A research brief issued by the CFPB on Tuesday outlined mortgage borrowers’ challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including that certain homeowners and communities are more at risk for forbearance or delinquency than others.

Millions of mortgage borrowers in the United States have entered forbearance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while hundreds of thousands more were delinquent on their mortgages and did not obtain forbearance, even though it was readily available to most borrowers who reported a COVID-19-related hardship, according to the research brief, “Characteristics of Mortgage Borrowers During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The research brief found that Black and Hispanic mortgage borrowers are much more likely to be delinquent or in a forbearance program than white borrowers. For example, 33% of borrowers in forbearance and 27% of delinquent borrowers are Black or Hispanic, while only 18% of the total population of mortgage borrowers are Black or Hispanic, according to the research brief.

In addition, loans in forbearance or delinquent are disproportionately likely to have high loan-to-value and limited equity, leaving them vulnerable to being underwater, according to the research brief. For example, half of all loans in forbearance have a loan-to-value greater than 60%, compared to only 34% of current loans.  Borrowers who are behind on their payments but not in forbearance are more than five times as likely to have an loan-to-value greater than 95% than borrowers who are current on their payments, according to the research brief.

Further, forbearance and delinquency are significantly more common in communities of color (defined as majority minority census tracts) and lower-income communities (defined by census tract income quartiles), according to the research brief, the research brief stated.

The research brief can be accessed here.

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