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Delayed mortgage payments increase by 79,000

The number of homeowners delaying payments increased by a steep 79,000 in the past week, reversing a three-week trend that saw forbearance requests decline, according to data from Black Knight.

"Overall, the number of active forbearance plans is up 79K from last week erasing roughly half of the improvement seen since the peak of May 22 with rises seen over each of the past five business days," the company said of the latest data.

The CARES Act passed by Congress in March allowed homeowners experiencing financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 pandemic to request forbearance for government-backed mortgages for up to 180 days without being subject to penalties and late fees.

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But interest continues to accrue on the loans, and the full principal still has to be paid back.

The increase in forbearance requests could therefore be a sign that more homeowners are running into financial walls.

Black Knights said that the delayed payments amount to more than $1 trillion in unpaid principal and represent 8.8 percent of all mortgages.

The total number of loans in forbearance neared 4.7 million.