A new survey by Freddie Mac found that both homeowners and renters do this still worried about their ability to pay their mortgage or monthly rent if the pandemic continues. But those concerns have subsided since last fall. The COVID-19 tracking survey contacted over 1,000 respondents irregularly in the past year. Two thirds are homeowners, the rest are tenants.
In the nine months, the survey was conducted in 2020, more than the half tenants were concerned about their monthly payments, which fluctuated between 54 percent in April and 71 percent in November. Tenant concerns eased to 67 percent in December and further declined to 63 percent last month. Homeowners’ concern about mortgage payments was 33 percent in June and 55 percent in October. At the end of the year, 45 percent of those surveyed had concerns, and in February it improved to 41 percent.
By December 2020, 27 percent of homeowners and 35 percent of tenants had requested a postponement of housing benefit payments, most often due to uncertainty about making payments beyond the next. In the most recent poll in February, those numbers had dropped to 19 percent of homeowners and 28 percent of renters.
Has confidence in the housing market stayed high In the course of the survey, an average of 60 percent of the polls were conducted by 2020 and improved to 66 percent in February. Tenants were more likely to buy a home than a homeowner in the past year, many in late summer and early fall. The likelihood of homeowners selling their homes (18 percent) and tenants planning to buy one (34 percent) has stabilized so far this year. Refinancing activities also remain strong. Almost a third of homeowners said they are expected to refinance their homes in the first six months of 2021.
While many homeowners and tenants have financial problems, 72 percent Those currently employed are confident that they will maintain the same level of income for the first half of this year, but that amount has not always been appropriate. In the February poll, 43 percent said they lived from payday to payday, while 17 percent didn’t have enough for the basics by the next paycheck. The remaining 40 percent had enough to get past payday.
“Freddie Mac is focused on understanding how consumers feel about their current and future financial situation in the face of a pandemic,” said Donna Corley, executive vice president and head of the single family business. Both Corley and Debbie Jenkins, executive vice president and head of the multi-family business, said that while the real estate market has recovered faster than the rest of the economy, the pandemic has been economically devastating for millions of Americans.
They emphasized the steps their company has taken help Struggling homeowners and renters facing financial difficulties related to the pandemic. This includes the suspension of foreclosures and evictions through the end of June, as well as the availability of forbearance programs.
The company has also announced Help starts here Industry-wide support and a national borrower assistance network, nonprofit intermediaries providing free assistance including a full range of financial education and mortgage assistance services. There is also a tenant hotline that can be used for free advice from HUD-certified housing counselors. For more information on these programs, see https://myhome.freddiemac.com/.