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


Georgina Inexperienced

The take-up of mortgage fee holidays within the UK throughout the Covid-19 pandemic was extraordinary: based on UK Finance, holidays granted reached a peak of 1.9 million throughout the pandemic, or roughly one in six mortgages. However which households benefited from the scheme? On this submit I exploit wealthy UK family survey knowledge 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 necessary position in stopping a pointy rise in defaults. There’s additionally proof that some households might have taken them as insurance coverage towards future shocks, presumably dampening precautionary spending cuts.

What are fee holidays?

The unfold of Covid and the actions to include it had a major affect on UK family incomes and had the potential to trigger a major rise in family debt misery. Nonetheless, from March 2020 fee deferral schemes, referred to as ‘fee holidays’, had been rapidly rolled-out throughout the UK. They supplied a type of forbearance to debtors struggling due to Covid, by permitting a brief freeze on mortgage repayments.

The schemes had been provided by lenders for as much as six months following steerage 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 informed 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 explicit curiosity, is whether or not deferrals went to households whose funds had come below pressure because of the pandemic, reminiscent of: 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 people who misplaced earnings because of lockdowns, reminiscent of those that had been furloughed or unemployed. The implications of fee deferrals going to households in want are extremely materials. By guaranteeing households stayed present on their mortgages, the schemes might have prevented a pointy rise in defaults and spending cuts, which may have had damaging 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 might have declined even additional had fee deferrals not been launched to help households.

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

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

The primary time a family was interviewed they had been requested if they’d utilized for a mortgage fee vacation. I pool collectively all of the responses to this query throughout three waves (in April, Could and July 2020) to create my pattern. In my pattern, 12% of mortgagors responded that they’d utilized for a fee vacation. Of those purposes, round 1% had been nonetheless below assessment 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 moderately than lender provide. The purposes below assessment on the time of the survey had been doubtless delayed by capability constraints amongst lenders. I subsequently deal with all purposes moderately 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; earnings; well being; employment; and monetary issues) to necessary pre-crisis family traits from the primary survey, reminiscent of mortgage debt, web financial savings and former housing fee difficulties.

I discover that variables which point out that a person’s funds had come below pressure throughout the pandemic are correlated with selections to use. When nothing else is managed for, households which had skilled a fall in earnings had been extra more likely to apply for a vacation than others, significantly if the autumn exceeded 25% (Chart 1). Whereas it’s stunning {that a} comparatively massive 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 earnings, they could have been struggling financially. People who anticipated to be worse off within the following month had been additionally significantly extra more likely to apply for a deferral, suggesting precautionary causes might have been necessary (Chart 2).

Chart 1: Cost 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: Cost 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 below 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 occurring. My baseline outcomes are proven in Chart 3. I report the marginal results, which inform us the affect 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 below pressure. Being furloughed, dropping 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 more likely to have utilized for a deferral than the typical. That is in step with proof that the self-employed had been significantly laborious hit by the pandemic and restrictions to include it. Probably the most economically important predictor is a person’s subjective present monetary scenario: those that had been discovering their present monetary scenario tough, had been round 17% extra more likely to apply for a deferral.

No well being variables – reminiscent of having had signs of Covid up to now or having examined constructive 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 earnings and job standing variables.

Chart 3: Outcomes logit regression

Notes: Error bars symbolize 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 client credit score. ‘Excessive DSR’ is a binary variable indicating whether or not a family’s mortgage debt servicing ratio was within the prime quintile. ‘Excessive LTV’ signifies whether or not a family’s mortgage mortgage to worth ratio was within the prime quintile. Extra variables managed for in regression however not proven embrace: capacity to make money working from home; results of Covid take a look at; had signs of Covid; mortgage mortgage to earnings ratio; family web earnings; NHS informed to ‘protect’; age; youngsters; gender; marital standing; and ethnicity.

Who else took fee holidays?

My outcomes additionally counsel the coverage inspired financially weak 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, damaging family web financial savings or those that had beforehand been in arrears, had been extra more likely to apply even when modifications in earnings and job standing are managed for. These people doubtless confronted borrowing and liquidity constraints and will 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 increased predicted likelihood of making use of.

These outcomes are strong to a variety of assessments, together with controlling for the month of interview, area, the removing of weights and modifications within the pattern.


General, my outcomes counsel that many deferrals flowed to these whose funds had come below pressure because of the pandemic. Certainly, a family’s subjective monetary scenario being tough is the strongest predictor of making use of for fee deferrals. It’s subsequently attainable 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 earnings are managed for. This means that some purposes may have been made for precautionary causes. Subsequently the schemes might have dampened spillovers to the actual economic system even additional by stopping financially weak and pessimistic mortgagors from reducing again on their spending.

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

If you wish to get in contact, please e mail us at bankunderground@bankofengland.co.uk or depart a remark under.

Feedback will solely seem as soon as authorized by a moderator, and are solely printed the place a full title is equipped. Financial institution Underground is a weblog for Financial institution of England workers to share views that problem – or help – prevailing coverage orthodoxies. The views expressed listed here are these of the authors, and should not essentially these of the Financial institution of England, or its coverage committees.


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