Mortgages in forbearance because homeowners can't keep up during the pandemic soared 59% in a week after jumping 37% the week before, according to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
The MBA said this week that its Forbearance and Call Volume Survey found that mortgages now in forbearance -- an agreement that lets borrowers make reduced or no payments for a set period of time -- has reached roughly 3 million nationwide.
The latest figure is 5.95% as of April 12. It was 3.74% as of April 5. And 0.25% on March 2. That's an increase of nearly 2,280% from then to now in the MBA weekly tally.
New requests slowing, but May 1 is approaching
The actual number may well be higher, of course, since this is a trailing indicator (but not by much) of how much COVID-19 is hammering the U.S. economy, with joblessness for more than 22 million and a death toll now nearing 50,000.
The MBA did say that the volume of new requests for forbearance has actually slowed down some. In this week's report it represented 1.79% of total servicing portfolio volume, compared with 2.43% the week before. Weekly servicer call center volume also dropped from 14.4% of the portfolio represented to 8.8% in the latest survey, the trade group said.
But any reprieve may be temporary.
"Given that lockdowns and associated job losses will continue in the coming weeks, forbearance inquiries will likely rise again as we approach May payment due dates," Mike Fratantoni, the MBA's senior vice president and chief economist, said in Monday's announcement.