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Covid-19 Mortgage Relief Ends Soon for Millions of Homeowners

Covid-19 Mortgage Relief Ends Soon for Millions of Homeowners

When Jen and Brian Bononi signed up to postpone their mortgage payments last April, they thought it would be for six months at most. Close to a year l

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When Jen and Brian Bononi signed up to postpone their mortgage payments last April, they thought it would be for six months at most.

Close to a year later, little has changed for the couple. Ms. Bononi’s autoimmune disorder makes finding another job as a social worker during the Covid-19 pandemic dangerous. And Mr. Bononi’s income as a behavioral-health counselor isn’t enough by itself to cover their monthly mortgage payment of roughly $2,000 on top of their other expenses.

Mortgage forbearance has been a financial lifeline for many Americans navigating the pandemic-ravaged economy, allowing homeowners to eliminate what is often their largest bill for months at a time. But the relief programs, largely designed to last a maximum of 12 months, are set to expire in the coming months, a serious challenge for borrowers who are still out of work or are earning less than they did pre-pandemic.

More than half of 2.7 million active forbearance plans are set to end for good in March, April, May or June, according to mortgage-data firm Black Knight Inc.

“The biggest concern in my eyes is the number of folks whose forbearance programs are going to end this spring,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Haus, a home-finance startup. “Those that were hit the hardest early on and still haven’t found a job are going to be in dire straits.”

This post first appeared on wsj.com

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