Census Data Shows Potential Foreclosure Pipeline

In previous blogs we followed the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey (HPS) to examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the housing market. This week a new dataset was released that encompasses data collected from September 2 to September 14, 2020.

One of the new questions being asked by the Census Bureau in Phase 2 of the HPS concerns the likelihood of respondents to leave their home due to foreclosure. SP Group found that almost one in five households with a mortgage are “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to leave their home in the next two months due to foreclosure, based on HPS data. This suggests that the foreclosure pipeline is building up behind the scenes with millions feeling at risk of losing their homes.

We also looked at households by their income brackets.  In Figure 1, we show the correlation between likelihood of households leaving their home due to foreclosure against the income bracket of those households. As expected, households with lower incomes are more vulnerable to foreclosure than those with higher incomes.

Figure 1.

In our previous blog, we observed that 12 to 15 percent of households with a mortgage had expressed a lack of confidence in their ability to pay next month’s mortgage payment.  Data from September shows that these households are now expressing vulnerability to foreclosure as their access to supplementary income through extended unemployment insurance benefits comes to an end. The outcome of this longstanding apprehension is persistent regardless of foreclosure moratoriums. We will continue to observe the HPS data in coming weeks and post our findings.