Potential Changes to the FHA COVID-19 Modification Options to Keep More Borrowers in Their Homes
26 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2021
Date Written: April 22, 2021
Millions of homeowners are having difficulty affording their monthly mortgage payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most vulnerable group of borrowers is concentrated within the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program, with over 900,000 borrowers who are more than 90 days delinquent. Research provides clear evidence that immediate and substantial payment reduction is the most effective mortgage default prevention tool available. This paper suggests several changes to the FHA COVID-19 Home Retention Options that FHA should consider to provide more borrowers with deeper payment reductions, many at no cost to the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, that would provide borrowers in need of financial assistance with greater eligibility as well as more substantial payment reductions that help them retain their home and avoid foreclosure. We estimate the incremental payment relief and resulting reduction in foreclosures that would be created by each of our proposed changes, and demonstrate how our suggestions would increase the availability of mortgage modifications for borrowers with lower incomes and higher debt-to-income ratios, particularly Black and Hispanic borrowers.
Keywords: mortgage, mortgage default, mortgage modification, debt relief, homeowners
JEL Classification: G51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation