The Department of Housing and Urban Development has extend a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on home mortgages its insures against default, protecting many first-time home buyers.
The moratorium will now run through Feb. 28. It had been set to expire at the end of the month.
The foreclosure moratorium applies to mortgages backed by the Federal Home Administration, a division of the federal housing department. In recent years, F.H.A. guaranteed mortgages have become a major way for first-time buyers to acquire homes. The biggest underwriters of F.H.A. mortgages have been so-called nonbank lenders that are not affiliated with a major bank.
HUD is also similarly extending the deadline for cash-strapped homeowners to seek a reprieve from making full mortgage payments for up to six months.
The HUD extensions are just the latest efforts by government housing officials to help homeowners. Earlier this month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extended the foreclosure moratorium for home loans guaranteed against default by those two big mortgage finance firms through the end of January.
The stimulus legislation under negotiation in Congress is expected to contain measures to help renters as well.