Who took out mortgage fee holidays through the pandemic? – Financial institution Underground

Georgina Inexperienced

The take-up of mortgage fee holidays within the UK through the Covid-19 pandemic was extraordinary: in response to UK Finance, holidays granted reached a peak of 1.9 million through the pandemic, or roughly one in six mortgages. However which households benefited from the scheme? On this submit I exploit wealthy UK family survey information to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the distribution of the debt-relief scheme at a person stage. I discover that debtors struggling to maintain up with funds throughout Covid utilized for a vacation, suggesting the scheme performed an essential function in stopping a pointy rise in defaults. There’s additionally proof that some households could have taken them as insurance coverage towards future shocks, probably dampening precautionary spending cuts.

What are fee holidays?

The unfold of Covid and the actions to comprise it had a big influence on UK family incomes and had the potential to trigger a big rise in family debt misery. Nevertheless, from March 2020 fee deferral schemes, referred to as ‘fee holidays’, had been rapidly rolled-out throughout the UK. They offered a type of forbearance to debtors struggling due to Covid, by permitting a short lived freeze on mortgage repayments.

The schemes had been provided by lenders for as much as six months following steering from the UK conduct regulator, the Monetary Conduct Authority. Mortgagors had been eligible so long as they weren’t already behind on funds and debtors had been instructed that holidays wouldn’t be reported as missed funds on their credit score file, impacting their credit score scores. 

As most mortgagors had been eligible for a vacation, understanding which households utilized for the schemes is of key significance for coverage. Of specific curiosity, is whether or not deferrals went to households whose funds had come beneath pressure because of the pandemic, equivalent to: these whose well being was affected and had been quickly unable to work due to this; these shielding due to underlying well being vulnerabilities; and those that misplaced revenue because of lockdowns, equivalent to those that had been furloughed or unemployed. The results of fee deferrals going to households in want are extremely materials. By making certain households stayed present on their mortgages, the schemes could have prevented a pointy rise in defaults and spending cuts, which may have had unfavourable spillovers to the remainder of the economic system. Certainly, all through the pandemic mortgage arrears remained close to to traditionally low ranges. And although family spending fell considerably, largely pushed by curbs on social exercise, it could have declined even additional had fee deferrals not been launched to assist households.

Use of family survey information to look at who accessed mortgage fee holidays within the UK

I exploit granular information masking round 3,000 UK mortgagors collected from the Understanding Society Covid-19 Research. Understanding Society is the UK’s fundamental longitudinal family survey. The Covid examine was launched to seize experiences of a subset of those households through the pandemic.

The primary time a family was interviewed they had been requested if that they had utilized for a mortgage fee vacation. I pool collectively all of the responses to this query throughout three waves (in April, Might and July 2020) to create my pattern. In my pattern, 12% of mortgagors responded that that they had utilized for a fee vacation. Of those purposes, round 1% had been nonetheless beneath overview with solely 0.1% having been declined. That only a few purposes had been declined confirms that fee holidays had been largely pushed by borrower demand slightly than lender provide. The purposes beneath overview on the time of the survey had been doubtless delayed by capability constraints amongst lenders. I subsequently give attention to all purposes slightly than solely these granted to maximise my pattern measurement.

To discover predictors of responses to the fee deferral query I hyperlink info from the Covid surveys (age; ethnicity; revenue; well being; employment; and monetary issues) to essential pre-crisis family traits from the primary survey, equivalent to mortgage debt, web financial savings and former housing fee difficulties.

I discover that variables which point out that a person’s funds had come beneath pressure through the pandemic are correlated with choices to use. When nothing else is managed for, households which had skilled a fall in earnings had been extra prone to apply for a vacation than others, notably if the autumn exceeded 25% (Chart 1). Whereas it’s shocking {that a} comparatively giant share of households which skilled rises in earnings of over 25% nonetheless utilized for deferrals, these households tended to be a lot worse-off previous to the pandemic. On common, pre-Covid family earnings for this group had been 45% decrease than different households that utilized for deferrals. In consequence, even regardless of the rise in revenue, they could have been struggling financially. People who anticipated to be worse off within the following month had been additionally significantly extra prone to apply for a deferral, suggesting precautionary causes could have been essential (Chart 2).

Chart 1: Fee deferral by change in family web earnings between January/February 2020 and the interview date (per cent)

Sources: Understanding Society Covid-19 Research and Financial institution calculations.

Chart 2: Fee deferral by monetary expectations one month forward (per cent)

Sources: Understanding Society Covid-19 Research and Financial institution calculations.

Did fee deferrals go to folks whose funds had come beneath pressure because of the pandemic?

To formally examine which traits are related to purposes for fee holidays I run logit regressions, which mannequin the likelihood of an occasion taking place. My baseline outcomes are proven in Chart 3. I report the marginal results, which inform us the influence of a variable on the likelihood of making use of for a fee vacation, holding all different variables at their common stage.

I discover proof that many deferrals went to these whose funds had come beneath pressure. Being furloughed, shedding family earnings or being made redundant because the begin of the pandemic are all economically and statistically important predictors of deferral purposes. People who’re self-employed are additionally considerably extra prone to have utilized for a deferral than the typical. That is in step with proof that the self-employed had been notably laborious hit by the pandemic and restrictions to comprise it. Probably the most economically important predictor is a person’s subjective present monetary state of affairs: those that had been discovering their present monetary state of affairs troublesome, had been round 17% extra prone to apply for a deferral.

No well being variables – equivalent to having had signs of Covid previously or having examined optimistic for Covid – are important. It’s doubtless that the strain on family funds from being sick with Covid and having to self-isolate is already being soaked up by the revenue and job standing variables.

Chart 3: Outcomes logit regression

Notes: Error bars signify 90% confidence intervals round imply marginal results. ‘Earnings fall’ refers back to the change in family web earnings between January/February 2020 and the person’s first-response to the Covid survey. ‘Web financial savings’ is calculated as family financial savings web of whole shopper credit score. ‘Excessive DSR’ is a binary variable indicating whether or not a family’s mortgage debt servicing ratio was within the high quintile. ‘Excessive LTV’ signifies whether or not a family’s mortgage mortgage to worth ratio was within the high quintile. Further variables managed for in regression however not proven embody: capability to work at home; results of Covid take a look at; had signs of Covid; mortgage mortgage to revenue ratio; family web revenue; NHS instructed to ‘protect’; age; youngsters; gender; marital standing; and ethnicity.

Who else took fee holidays?

My outcomes additionally counsel the coverage inspired financially susceptible households, who had not suffered any sort of Covid-related shock to their funds, to use.

Mortgagors with a excessive debt-servicing ratio, excessive mortgage to worth ratio, unfavourable family web financial savings or those that had beforehand been in arrears, had been extra prone to apply even when adjustments in revenue and job standing are managed for. These people doubtless confronted borrowing and liquidity constraints and should have used the schemes to construct up a buffer of financial savings to insure towards future shocks. Expectations additionally appear to matter. People who anticipated to be financially worse off in a single months’ time additionally had a statistically considerably greater predicted likelihood of making use of.

These outcomes are sturdy to plenty of exams, together with controlling for the month of interview, area, the removing of weights and adjustments within the pattern.


General, my outcomes counsel that many deferrals flowed to these whose funds had come beneath pressure because of the pandemic. Certainly, a family’s subjective monetary state of affairs being troublesome is the strongest predictor of making use of for fee deferrals. It’s subsequently potential that deferrals helped forestall an increase in defaults and dampened family spending cuts. However expectations and pre-Covid balance-sheet variables mattered too, even when employment and revenue are managed for. This means that some purposes may have been made for precautionary causes. Subsequently the schemes could have dampened spillovers to the true economic system even additional by stopping financially susceptible and pessimistic mortgagors from chopping again on their spending.

Georgina Inexperienced works within the Financial institution’s Macro-financial Dangers Division.

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