Will Fannie and Freddie Shutdown Push Up Mortgage Rates Further?

The Associated Press reported today that, if Congress has its way, the two government-controlled mortgage guarantee entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — could close down, resulting in higher mortgage rates.

The House and Senate have separate bills that would phase out both Fannie and Freddie over a five-year period. But while the House Republican bill would virtually privatize the mortgage market, the bipartisan Senate bill would ensure a more limited government role. Some say the House bill will see homeowners paying more on their mortgage payments while the Senate bill will keep mortgages available and affordable.

Either way, says Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, borrowers will still pay more. He says a typical borrower with a conforming loan of approximately $200,000 and providing a 20% down payment could pay an extra $75 a month in interest payments under the Senate plan, $135 more under the House plan.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold 50% of all existing mortgages and 90% of all new mortgages. So far, they have paid the Treasury Department $132 billion, more than two-thirds of the bailout money they received.

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