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Are Fannie Mae’s Days Numbered?

HI7-23-13It’s summer in Washington, and, as we’ve been reporting, housing reform is in the air. The bipartisan Corker-Warner bill and the Republican-backed PATH (Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners) Act are aiming to revamp government housing policy, and both bills are taking aim at venerable lending agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the troubled mainstays of government-backed mortgage lending.

In our series of intermittent posts on the progress of these bills, we’ve been looking at the implications of their proposed reforms on income property inverting, especially where mortgage lending and mortgage rates are concerned. And that’s why housing industry watchers are evaluating what the future might hold for Fannie and Freddie.

These lending services have been around for years, supplying the majority of home loans offered nationwide. But because of that, they played a major role in the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the housing collapse of 2008. Eventfully both were placed into “conservatorship,” temporary holding pattern that allowed the government time to figure out what to do with them.

But that temporary conservatorship has lingered on and on, as plan after plan was floated to move some of their functions to the private sector or to create new entities out of some parts of both. The PATH Act represents the most aggressive targeting of these venerable institutions, though, with plans to phase them out entirely within 60 months, liquidate their assets and divert their functions to private companies and lending institutions.

What’s more, the loan products they’d be able to offer during that period would be subject to the provisions of the “Qualified Mortgage” Rule, which establishes tight standards for mortgage lending. The Corker Warner bill, on the other hand, would offer then a temporary exemption from the QM Rule to smooth the transition to privatization

According to a recent report by Inman News points out that these venerable lending agencies n itht5 be a4ound a lot longer than the PATH Act specifies, though. Wrangling over the bills passage, a Democratic President likely to veto at least parts of it, and delays in shifting to privatization are al factors that could delay the timetable for phasing the two agencies out.

Some housing industry professionals see both acts – but PATH in particular – as essentially unworkable and unlikely to pass, But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are both still plagued by the fallout from the housing collapse and will remain in conservatorship, even as they continue to underwrite over half the home loans offered in the Us through numerous servicers nationwide.

Whether Fannie and Freddie’s fate is sealed by the PATH Act or another round of legislation, the housing market as a whole — and investors initiating and carrying the fixed rate mortgage Jason Hartman recommends for successful income property investing – will be affected by the outcome. With policy changes on the horizon, this may still be the best time to invest.  (Top image: Flickr/byrdiegyrll)

Background:

Harney, Ken. “Talk of Doing Away With Fannie and Freddie Is Just That.” Inman News. Inman.com 18 Jul 2013

Heroic Investing is the complete investing solution for first responders. Read more from our archives:

New Bills, New Directions for US Housing Policy

Is the Government Getting Out of the Housing Business?

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