More Americans are putting their mortgage payments on hold. According to a new survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association, about two million loans were in what’s called “forbearance” the first week of April, meaning borrowers have asked for a temporary break on the payment due.
The emergency aid package Congress passed last month allows many homeowners to delay their mortgage payments for up to a year. As job losses grow, more Americans are requesting that option.
The Mortgage Bankers Association says about 3.7% of home loans were in forbearance as of April 5, up one percentage point from the week before.
The association’s chief economist Mike Fratantoni expects that number to grow at a “rapid pace.”
“This is putting a real strain on some mortgage servicers,” he said.
Servicers are the companies that collect loan payments from borrowers, and they still have to pay the investors who own securities backed by those mortgages. The industry is asking the Federal Reserve for emergency loans to help cover those payments.
There was a speck of good news in the survey: Average hold times for homeowners calling to get relief fell from 13 minutes to just over 10 minutes.
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