After dropping by nearly 150,000 the prior week, the total number of mortgages in forbearance saw continued improvement last week, according to new data from Black Knight. The number of loans in active forbearance fell by 66,000 (2%) last week.

All in all, active forbearances have fallen by 238,000 (about 6%) over the past 30 days as servicers continue to work through the wave of forbearance plans set to expire in September, Black Knight said. Entering the month, more than 2 million forbearance plans were set to expire in September, Black Knight reported. That number is already down to 1.7 million “as those expirations as begin to be assessed for extensions and removals,” Black Knight said in an email to MPA.

As of Sept. 8, more than 3.8 million homeowners were in COVID-19-related forbearance plans. That’s a 22% drop from the peak of more than 4.7 million in late May.

“These loans represent 7% of the active mortgage universe, down from 7.1% [the prior week],” Black Knight said. “Together, they represent $789 billion in unpaid principal.”

Five percent of all GSE-backed loans and 11.3% of all FHA/VA loans are currently in forbearance plans. Another 7.4% of loans in private-label securities or bank portfolios are in forbearance, Black Knight said.

Last week’s decline was driven primarily by GSE loans, which posted a decline of 36,000 in the number of active forbearance plans. FHA/VA loans saw a smaller decline of 18,000. Active forbearance plans among PLS and bank portfolio loans were down by 12,000.

Portfolio-held loans saw the largest decline over the last 30 days, posting a 13% month-over-month drop.

Black Knight found that 75% of borrowers in forbearance have had their plans extended. However, new forbearance plan starts hit their lowest level in more than five months. About 48,000 plans were initiated in the first week of September, a 16% drop from the previous week and down 22% from the first week of August.