Federal housing agencies extend foreclosure moratorium to Aug. 31

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Housing Finance Agency is extending its foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until at least Aug. 31 to protect borrowers and renters during the coronavirus pandemic.

Previously the moratorium was set to expire June 30. It is the second time the agency has pushed back the moratorium, which was originally set to last until May 17. The Federal Housing Administration also said Wednesday that it would join the FHFA in extending its foreclosure and eviction moratorium until Aug. 31.

“During this national health emergency no one should worry about losing their home,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said in a press release.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development said that the FHA’s extension would give “peace of mind” to homeowners working to recover financially from the pandemic. “FHA is committed to working with borrowers impacted by COVID-19 and this second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium is another sign of the unprecedented steps HUD is taking to assist those impacted by this terrible pandemic,”acting FHA Commissioner Len Wolfson said in a press release.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which Congress passed in March, allowed for a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions on properties financed through federally backed mortgages. But the FHFA along with the Federal Housing Administration also imposed their own moratoriums independent of the CARES Act.

Lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee had pressured Calabria as well as HUD Secretary Ben Carson last week to extend the moratorium, expressing concern about an impending “housing cliff” when several CARES Act provisions — including enhanced unemployment benefits — are set to run out last month.

At the time, Calabria said he expected his agency to push back the moratorium by only a month.

“I don't think we'd want it to be any more than two months just because we can always extend it again, as we start to see how the economy evolves, so my preference here is to give people enough certainty without necessarily locking us in,” he said.

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