Home for the holidays: Fannie, Freddie stall foreclosure evictions

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The government-sponsored enterprises are suspending eviction lockouts for the holiday season.

Though legal and administrative proceedings may advance, evictions for units owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be halted between Dec. 17 and Jan. 2. This means while other pre- and post-foreclosure activities will not be affected, and servicers may continue to file related documentation, homeowners may remain in their houses during this period.

The eviction moratorium applies to single-family and two-to-four-unit properties, according to Fannie Mae.

The share of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the third quarter was 0.99%, which is down 24 basis points from a year ago and 6 basis points from the previous quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mortgage delinquencies overall inched up, but a healthier economy is still keeping them low.

"We believe it is important to extend the timeline of help for struggling borrowers during the holidays. We encourage homeowners who may be struggling with their mortgage or facing possible foreclosure to reach out to Fannie Mae or your servicer to get help. We want to help pursue those options whenever possible," Jacob Williamson, vice president of single-family real estate at Fannie Mae, said in a press release.

The suspension lockouts issued by Fannie and Freddie have also been issued in previous years to provide relief for households during the holidays.

This moratorium also comes at a time when legal proceedings, late payment fees and credit bureau reporting have been temporarily suspended for properties affected by natural disasters like the recent California wildfires.

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Foreclosures Servicing Default management GSEs Natural disasters Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgage Bankers Association