FHFA statistics on mortgage loan performance in 2020


When the coronavirus pandemic kept many Americans from working, many wondered what would happen in the housing market. After all, no job, no salary, no mortgage repayment. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) says calculating the number of Americans who are having difficulty paying for their housing can be difficult given new rules and regulations related to responding to the pandemic.

In 2020, mortgages reported to credit bureaus as past due fell to 1.0% (as shown in the figure below). The percentages over the past year for seriously delinquent mortgages and mortgages in foreclosure, bankruptcy or deed in lieu have remained stable, ”according to an FHFA press release. “As a result of these trends, the median credit score of mortgage borrowers, as measured by VantageScore on active mortgage borrowers, actually increased slightly in 2020.”

Based on this information, it would appear that most borrowers have no problem meeting their mortgages. However, the CARES Act (short for Corona Virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) allowed people to skip payments without damaging their credit scores or having their mortgages flagged as overdue on their credit reports.

The data presented in the figure below, taken from the National Mortgage Lending Database (BNDM) sponsored by the FHFA and CFPB, shows the national impact of these components of the CARES law. The data presented is based on the delinquent status of mortgages reported to the credit bureaus if a credit report was prepared for each borrower on the last day of the month.

Their mortgage status would remain whatever it was when the CARES law was adopted. Therefore, if they were up to date with their payments, but missed one after the law was passed, they would be credited no harm and their actual status would be difficult to determine.

So, when looking at mortgage yield statistics, it’s important to keep all of this in mind.

In 2020, mortgages reported 30 to 60 days late fell to 1.0%. Mortgages 90 to 180 days past due fell to 0.6%. And mortgages that resulted in foreclosure, bankruptcy or a deed in lieu remained stable at 0.3%.

The overall median credit scores of mortgage borrowers increased slightly in 2020, according to VantageScore.

If the provisions of the CARES Act were removed, it is likely that by the end of October 2020, delinquent mortgages would be three percentage points higher. However, a more precise assessment of the impact of the pandemic on mortgages is unlikely to be available until the end of the crisis.

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