Home inspections help maintain the structural integrity of buildings and provide the opportunity to check for damage, leakages, and to make sure the property is well-maintained—whether it is occupied or vacant. But during the pandemic, stay-at-home orders prevented property preservation inspectors or REO inspectors from carrying out weekly or monthly inspections on foreclosure properties, meaning property maintenance suffered.
On top of delays to property inspections, Covid-19 financial relief efforts were introduced to help homeowners cover mortgage payments and the Federal Eviction Mortarium prevented evections. There was a record low of 151,153 foreclosure filed in 2021, nearly 30 percent below 2020 figures and the lowest rate since records started in 2005. The Supreme Court ended the Federal Eviction Mortarium in August 2021, and recent figures show over 6 million households are behind on rent payments, an estimated total debt of over $16 billion dollars, meaning landlords who rely solely on rental income could be struggling to cover mortgage payments. Recent figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predict over 700,000 homeowners are in forbearance plans.
The US government’s foreclosure moratorium and the mortgage forbearance program have slowed down the number of foreclosures over the past year. Despite a recovering economy, as these programs draw to a close, there is likely to be a rise in foreclosure starts as delinquent borrowers run out of options to delay mortgage repayments.