On December 2, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would extend the moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions from December 31, 2020 to at least January 31, 2021. The foreclosure moratorium affects single-family mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, while the REO eviction moratorium affects properties acquired by Fannie or Freddie through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. Although the extension is good news for counties and their residents who would be subject to these kinds of evictions, more is needed to address the current housing affordability and insecurity issues that have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moratoriums extended by FHFA have been in place since March 18, 2020 and the agency estimates that the moratoriums cover more than 28 million homeowners who have a mortgage backed by Fannie or Freddie. Mortgage lenders cannot advance new foreclosures or foreclosures that were underway before the announcement of the moratoriums.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis and, while the extension of moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and REO evictions is a step in the right direction, more federal action is needed to help counties combat housing unaffordability and instability. According to Census Bureau data, 16 percent of renters are behind on rent and more than 25 percent are housing insecure. These challenges disproportionately impact Black and Latino renters, populations which are also disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the end of the year approaches, additional federal action and resources are necessary to help counties ensure that their residents are securely housed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium, which applies to eligible renters in any rental property (not only those with federal financing), is set to expire on December 31, 2020. If this moratorium expires the country is likely to face a wave of evictions, which would likely increase strains on county budgets and resources. NACo supports additional federal funding for state and local governments and for housing assistance to help counties support their residents in making rental and mortgage payments during this pandemic.
- NACo Webinar: County Eviction Series: The Eviction Crisis Today and Projections for the Future
- Counties launch rent assistance measures amid COVID-19 crisis
- Affordable Housing: Toolkit for Counties