Mortgage Observer

A World Without Fannie and Freddie?

Fannie Mae Headquarters

A proposed Senate bill that seeks to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next five years, revealed last month, would preserve their multifamily lending businesses under a new entity and maintain a government guarantee for the multifamily lending market, commercial lenders and brokers told Mortgage Observer.

The bill, announced by Senators Tim Johnson and Mike Crapo on March 11, focuses on the dissolution of the firms’ single-family residential mortgage business, a market that the government-sponsored entities continue to dominate six years after the beginning of the financial crisis. It also creates a provision that would spin off the companies’ multifamily businesses and establish new independent businesses within a year of the bill’s passage. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Challenges at the Federal Housing Administration Were Forseen

With few exceptions, news on the housing front has been overwhelmingly positive in recent months. In spite of weak employment trends, historically low mortgage rates and the plodding but inexorable rebalancing of supply and demand have combined to lift sales volumes, prices and perceptions of a housing recovery.

But a rising tide does not relegate housing to a lower rung on the policy ladder. As conditions improve, policymakers will be obliged to address the long-term role of government in promoting specific housing outcomes. Since the government embarked on the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more than four years ago, the immediate goal of resuscitating the housing market has taken precedence over the larger question of how policy goals have supported—and undermined—the sustainability of the sector. Read More