The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the watchdog for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cited the COVID-19 pandemic as it issued annual goals for the mortgage giants on Monday that matched the levels of the prior three years.
“Due to the economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 national pandemic, FHFA is proposing benchmarks for calendar year 2021 only, and those levels will remain the same as they were for 2018-2020,” the agency said in a release. “Once finalized, the proposed benchmark levels would extend those benchmarks that are currently set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.”
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, known as government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, were chartered by Congress decades ago to expand access to mortgages. The FHFA establishes annual targets for both single-family and multifamily mortgages, and measures performance using data obtained through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. In recent years the GSEs have met or exceeded the benchmarks.
The goals for single-family homes are: 24% of mortgages purchased by the GSEs must be for low-income borrowers, and the low-income refinancing goal is 21%. The goals require 14% of mortgages to be for homes in low-income areas, and 6% of mortgages must be for very-low-income borrowers.
For multifamily lending, 315,000 rental units financed must be affordable to low-income families, and 60,000 units must be at “very low income” level, the release said.
The FHFA asked “interested parties” to submit comments on the proposed rule within 60 days. Comments can be submitted to: Federal Housing Finance Agency, Division of Housing Mission and Goals, 400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20219 or via FHFA.gov.