Brief During the Pandemic, Policymakers Should Maintain Forbearance but Fix Its Costs
Michael Neal, Linna Zhu, Faith Schwartz
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Echoing the Great Recession, the pandemic has heightened the risk of mortgage delinquencies and resulted in a tighter mortgage credit box, which may have severe long term consequences, particularly for current and would-be Black and Hispanic homeowners. This brief explains that mortgage performance following Hurricane Katrina suggests that this pandemic – which also has shades of a natural disaster -  will increase delinquencies, but public policy can mute its impact on foreclosures. Foreclosure moratoriums and institutional forbearance have indeed helped homeowners keep their homes, to date, but specific forbearance policies have also contributed to the tightening of the mortgage credit box. In debating the extension of forbearance as part of a broader package, policymakers should recognize its benefits while working to maintain responsible access to mortgages.

Research Areas Wealth and financial well-being Race and equity Housing finance
Tags COVID-19 Opportunity and ownership Finance
Policy Centers Housing Finance Policy Center