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Tag Archives: Freddie Mac

Mortgage Rates Down on Tepid Housing Numbers

Fixed mortgage rates this week moved down to their lowest levels so far in 2014, according to surveys from Freddie Mac and finance site Bankrate.com. Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, pointed to weaker housing data as the driving force behind this week’s rate movements.

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Business Ticks Up at Freddie Mac

According to Freddie Mac's December volume summary, the GSE's total mortgage portfolio grew at an annualized rate of 0.4 percent for the month, bringing 2013's average rate to -2.6 percent. The portfolio grew in four out of last year's 12 months and shrank in eight, including a streak of declines from July through November. As of the end of the year, the portfolio was valued at approximately $1.91 trillion.

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Economists Outline What to Watch for in the Real Estate Market of 2014

Real Estate Market

Experts at Freddie Mac and Equifax expect falling unemployment and economic growth to keep the housing market steady in 2014. This, despite climbing interest rates and anticipated growth in housing prices nationwide. While industry economists welcome the idea of a steady, slowly recovering housing market, they also have a checklist of housing and economic indicators they're keeping tabs on that could influence the pace of recovery.

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FHFA Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on Proposed Loan Limits

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) says it wants input on a plan to lower the ceiling for loans eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Under FHFA's proposed plan, the $417,000 maximum limit for single-family homes in most areas around the country would be lowered to $400,000, a reduction of about 4 percent. Areas with higher limits would see a similar cut, with the $625,500 maximum dropping to $600,000.

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Freddie Mac’s Mortgage Portfolio Shrinks at Fastest Rate This Year

Freddie Mac's mortgage book of business contracted at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent in October, marking the fourth consecutive month of declines. The book has registered declines in seven of the first 10 months of 2013, according to Freddie Mac's monthly volume summary. October's pace of decline was the highest rate so far this year and is up from a 4.3 percent annualized rate reported for September.

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Watt Confirmed as FHFA Director

Following a play by Democrats to defang Republicans' filibuster powers, the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Rep. Mel Watt (D-North Carolina) as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The vote went 57-41 in Watt's favor, the Wall Street Journal reports. All Senate Democrats voted in favor of confirmation; they were joined across the aisle by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina).

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FHFA Announces Increase in Guarantee Fees

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise their guarantee fees (g-fees). The g-fee increase consists of three components: the base fee for all mortgages will increase 10 basis points; the g-fee grid will be updated to ensure pricing is aligned with credit risk; and the adverse market fee of 25 basis points is being eliminated except in four states where foreclosure carrying costs are exponentially high.

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Mortgage Rates See Sharp Increases

Fixed mortgage rates increased sharply this week while reports on adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. Freddie Mac puts the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.46 percent for the week ending December 5, up from 4.29 percent last week. Bankrate's weekly national survey showed a rise of 11 basis points for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to 4.55 percent. Economists pinned the increases on encouraging growth in new home sales and private jobs.

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White House Representative Speaks on Housing Finance Reform

Speaking at an industry symposium recently, Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council for the White House, stressed the importance of securitization in the housing market, saying it makes mortgages cheaper and enables banks to free up limited capital to support additional home purchases and other forms of lending. However, he says the current securitization market is in need of major reforms.

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