By Jacob Passy
The Federal Housing Finance Agency will allow homeowners to receive an additional three months of forbearance as it extends the COVID-19 relief options available.
The agency announced Thursday that homeowners with loans backed by Fannie Mae /zigman2/quotes/208846331/composite FNMA +0.87% and Freddie Mac /zigman2/quotes/202741363/composite FMCC -0.17% can receive up to 18 months of payment relief. To be eligible for the extended forbearance, homeowners must already be signed up for a forbearance plan by the end of February.
The FHFA also amended its separate payment deferral option for homeowners so they can now miss up to 18 months of payments. Those missed payments can be repaid when the mortgage reaches maturity, when the home is sold or when the mortgage is refinanced.
Originally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac instructed loan servicers that mortgage borrowers could request up to 12 months of forbearance on their mortgages as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But earlier this month, the FHFA extended the forbearance period by an additional three months, for up to 15 months’ forbearance.
The new changes announced Thursday were made to bring the agency’s policies in line with the policies set forth by the Biden administration for loans backed by the federal government, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgages.
Beyond extending forbearance, the FHFA also announced that it was extending its moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until June 30. The moratoriums were previously set to expire at the end of March.