There have been a hundred's of articles written over the last 12 months outlining what might happen to Mortgage Lending Industry if/when the federal government slows it's heavy participation through Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Housing Administration.
To say there would be no housing market without the government is an understatatement. thankfully, Washington has taken extraordinary steps to keep home loans available and affordable over the last 24 months. That caused a tentative housing recovery last year. Home sales reversed their four-year descent, while prices stabilized.
Now comes the hard part. Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Housing Administration are massive entities that purchase home loans, package them into investments and guarantee them against default. The price tag has been huge — $126 billion and growing.
The Obama administration has been surprisingly mute on the subject which makes me all the more neervous. Congress will hold its first today on how to restructure the mortgage system in the wake of the current financial crisis. How to manage change when the housing recovery remains too fragile and feeble for the government to step away. Even staunch free-market advocates who want to get rid of Fannie and Freddie in the long run don't see that happening anytime soon.
"The housing finance system clearly cannot continue to operate as it has in the past," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in testimony prepared for Tuesday's hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee. He added that any restructuring should wait until "a time of greater market stability."
My interpretation: See National Health Care. Get your cheap mortgage rates now!!!