by Ethan Handelman, National Housing Conference
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced today that it would not go forward with the last-minute changes it had announced in December, which included increasing the guarantee fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and charging differential guarantee fees for states with slower foreclosure timelines. In the FHFA news release, new director Mel Watt stated that: “The implications for mortgage credit availability and how these changes might interact with the new qualified mortgage standards could be significant. I want to fully understand these implications before deciding whether to move forward with any adjustments to g-fee pricing.”
This action is a strong positive signal that FHFA is rebalancing its approach to mortgage finance to address access to credit and housing affordability as part of the effective functioning of the secondary mortgage market. NHC has consistently advocated for a focus on access and affordability by the agency, and we specifically opposed the differential pricing of guarantee fees tied to foreclosure timelines. Slowing down to take a careful look at each of the actions done so quickly at the end of last year is wise. NHC welcomes the new approach.