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Freddie Mac mortgage purchases down 23% in January

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Mortgage purchases and issuances at Freddie Mac fell to $38.8 billion in January, down from $49.7 billion in December, according to Freddie's latest monthly loan volume summary. The government-sponsored enterprise also said its total mortgage portfolio fell at an annualized rate of 7.3% last month, according to the report. The drop coincides with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's request for Congress to enact GSE reforms within the next two years. The Treasury's recent white paper on mortgage market reforms recommends a gradual winding down of the GSEs and their loan volumes in favor of a mortgage market propped up by the public sector. The single-family refinance-loan purchase and guarantee volume at Freddie hit $32.4 billion in January, making up 83% of total loan purchases and issuances. Meanwhile, the aggregate unpaid principal balance of the GSE's mortgage-related investments portfolio fell by $2 billion in January. Freddie's mortgage-related securities and other guarantee commitments also declined at an annualized rate of 8.1%. Freddie's single-family seriously delinquency rate fell to 3.82% last month, while the multifamily delinquency rate grew a slight 0.28%. Freddie Mac has been under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency since September 2008 when the financial markets collapsed. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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