February 1, 2010

Fannie Mae Offers Subsidy for REO Purchases

Fannie Mae says it will cover the closing costs on purchases of its REO homes – an incentive the GSE hopes will help it pare down a bloated supply of repossessed foreclosed properties.

The nation’s largest mortgage financier has announced a temporary seller-assistance program under which people purchasing a property through HomePath, Fannie Mae’s REO disposition operation, will receive up to 3.5 percent of the final sales price, which can be applied toward closing costs or used to purchase appliances for their new home.

The offer is available to any owner-occupant who closes on the purchase of a property listed on HomePath.com before May 1, 2010, the company said. In addition, many Fannie

Mae-owned properties are eligible for special HomePath Mortgage and HomePath Renovation Mortgage financing, with as little as 3 percent down.

“Attracting qualified buyers to the market and reducing the inventory of vacant homes is critical to stabilizing neighborhoods and helping the market recover,” said Terry Edwards, EVP of credit portfolio management for Fannie Mae. “Many families are taking advantage of the federal homebuyer tax credit to buy a new home so this is a great time for Fannie Mae to offer some additional help.”

Recent data from Fannie Mae show an increase in the acquisition of foreclosed properties and an escalating rate of seriously delinquent loans, which means even larger volumes of REOs could be coming down the pipeline.

According to the GSE’s most recent quarterly filing, Fannie Mae acquired 98,428 homes through foreclosure during the first nine months of last year and sold 89,691 REO properties during the same period. But at the end of September, Fannie Mae still had 72,275 REO properties on its books, marking a 7 percent increase year-over-year.

Furthermore, Fannie Mae’s monthly summary shows significant growth in seriously delinquent single-family mortgages held or guaranteed by the company. Up from 2.13 percent in November 2008, loans three or more months behind in payments or in the foreclosure process soared to 5.29 percent in November 2009.

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