FHFA Proposes New Performance Goals for Fannie, Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is proposing to establish new housing goals for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 2010 and 2011. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) gave FHFA the authority to set performance goals for the mortgage giants. The goals set minimum percentages of all housing units financed by mortgages acquired by each GSE in a given year. For 2010 and 2011, the FHFA proposal set three single-family owner-occupied goals and a single-family refinancing goal. The FHFA required, as the first goal for single-family housing, that 27% of the total number of mortgages purchased by Fannie and Freddie be of low-income family housing. The FHFA defined low-income as not exceeding 80% of the area median income. As the second goal for single-family housing the FHFA required that 8% of the Fannie and Freddie purchases be of very low-income family mortgages. Those mortgages qualify as very low when the family income does not exceed 50% of the area median income. The third goal for single-family housing required that 13% of the total number of mortgages purchased by Fannie and Freddie would be originated in low-income areas. For 2010 and 2011, 25% of Fannie and Freddie purchases of refinanced mortgages must be low-income family loans. “FHFA does not intend for the Enterprises to undertake uneconomic or high-risk activities in support of the goals,” the proposal clarifies. “Further, the fact that the Enterprises are in conservatorship should not be a justification for withdrawing support from these market segments. While in conservatorship the Enterprises have tightened their underwriting standards to avoid poor quality mortgages that have contributed substantially to their losses.” If the case of a failure to meet the goal, the GSE would be required to submit a housing plan for approval by FHFA. Under the proposal, the FHFA will also begin to conduct a monthly survey of single-family mortgage originations in 2010. The FHFA will make the survey data available to the public. Write to Jon Prior.

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