March 25, 2021 | Number of The Day
Newark households whose mortgages are seriously delinquent as of August 2020

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc with employment, finances and mortgages across most of the country. Case in point: Newark, where 14.9% of households are seriously delinquent on their mortgages — either 90 or more days late or starting foreclosure — as of August 2020, according to the Urban Institute. That rate is roughly 1.5 times the January 2020 level of 6.2%.

This financial squeeze is particularly hard on Black and Hispanic communities: The vast majority of homeowners in Newark (86%) are Black and Hispanic households.

Institutional forbearance and foreclosure moratoriums have kept homeowners from losing their homes. Despite the recent sharp rise in the city’s serious delinquency rate over the first eight months of 2020, the foreclosure rate declined from 2.3% in January to 1.7% by August.

But at some point, the policies and programs keeping distressed homeowners from losing their homes will end. Further, homeowners enrolled in these programs are not eligible for mortgage refinancing.