There's good news for the second month of 2021, and just like nasty ol' 2020, there's bad.
Good: Congress extended a ban on any foreclosures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages until the end of February of this year again (this is the fifth time since the pandemic started last year). And if Biden gets his way, there will be another extension momentarily.
Bad: That extension doesn't mean you're going to get out of the debt. Attorneys for big banks are expecting a nice income stream for them in filing notices and even lawsuits against those persons who are behind in mortgages.
Good: Many lenders holding mortgages will offer a forbearance to those folks who are behind in their mortgage payment if they can prove they are facing a current hardship such as a job loss due to COVID-19.
Bad: If you apply for mortgage relief with your lender, it may take an insane amount of time for them to approve your situation and, by then, the foreclosure extension deadline may have run out permanently.
Bad: the local real estate market along the Wasatch Front is biblical, as if God/Goddess/The Spaghetti Monster have thrown their wrath at buyers to punish them for even thinking of looking for a new place to live! Prices are nuts and only going up—my expectations are at least an increase of 10% in sales prices this year if not 1-2% a month in some areas.
Good: Interest rates on mortgages should stay below 3% this year, and financial markets have responded positively to the appointment of the very first female U.S. Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen. (YouTube Deesa's song, "Who's Yellen Now?"—fabulous!)
Good: The building boom along the tri-city area of Ogden, Salt Lake and Provo areas has created a massive hiring need for skilled laborers in every area of construction: electrical, plumbing, welding, framing, sheetrocking, concrete pouring and finishing, painting, etc. High demand has increased wages for everyone in these fields. Note: over eight high-rises are going in just in downtown Salt Lake City, including the massive Hyatt Regency attached to the convention center on West Temple (with 700 rooms and meeting spaces).
Bad: Builders can't hire enough skilled labor or keep many of those workers as competition for them is fierce. People will get approached in a parking lot by another builder offering $5 more per hour and they just simply never show up to work again. Cannibalization of the work force is rampant among builders and developers now.
Thinking of building a new home with a local developer? The time frame used to be six months from signing the contract to getting the keys to your new home. Now it's up to two years (depending on the developer) and, during all that time, price increases on lumber, roofing, lighting, carpet, etc. will be passed on to the buyer.