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Harvey Update: GSEs Announce Moratorium

Fannie-Freddie-logos-twoFannie Mae will be instituting a 90-day eviction suspension as well as a 90-day foreclosure sale suspension in areas located in FEMA-declared disaster zones. Homeowners in these areas may also qualify for a temporary suspension or reduction of their mortgage payment for up to six months.

“Our thoughts are with the families in the path of this powerful and catastrophic storm. We continue to monitor the situation in the affected areas,” said Carlos Perez, SVP and Chief Credit Officer at Fannie Mae. “The storm while weakened, continues in many areas and it is simply too early to provide any data or assessment about the scale or scope of damage resulting from Hurricane Harvey. Preliminary assessments of actual damage at this point may be inaccurate and potentially misleading. We will continue to work with our Single-Family servicers to communicate our policies and ensure borrowers have access to the information and resources they need to help manage their housing challenges.”

Freddie Mac issued a similar moratorium—the GSE will suspend evictions and foreclosure sales within the disaster zone for 90 days, and will allow extended forbearance and repayment plans for up to 12 months. Borrowers will not need prior approval for the extension, and servicers have been authorized to verbally grant forbearances to borrowers inside the disaster zone.

"We're committed to ensuring that homeowners receive the mortgage assistance they need to overcome the devastating tragedy of Hurricane Harvey," said Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac's VP of Single-Family Servicer Performance Management. "Once they're out of harm's way, homeowners should contact their servicer. They may be eligible for forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year if their mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac."

Rain continues to fall over the Houston metro as Harvey stretches toward Louisiana, and as Perez says, it is too early to tell the extent of the damage that the storm will have on the area. Melissa Mimms, a Realtor and Houston native, understands that fact. When DS News asked her how she thought it would affect the housing market, she said. “I was here during Ike. We lost power. We had flooding in areas that traditionally flooded. This event is very different from any event we've ever had in Houston, so it's hard to compare it to anything that's ever happened here.”

Mimms remains optimistic, though. “The Houston market has been resilient through many different hurricanes and tropical storms, like Ike and the Memorial Day floods that we had last year. What's going to happen, I think, is Houston is going to bounce back. I don't expect it's going to be very far from where we were before this event happened, but it's hard to tell this early on."

About Author: Joey Pizzolato

Joey Pizzolato is the Online Editor of DS News and MReport. He is a graduate of Spalding University, where he holds a holds an MFA in Writing as well as DePaul University, where he received a B.A. in English. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in a variety of print and online journals and magazines. To contact Pizzolato, email joseph.pizzolato@thefivestar.com.
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