Wednesday, July 23, 2008

$217 Billion in Subprime & Alt-A at F&F out of $1.5 T; $6.9 Billion in Foreclosed Properties: & Fixed Rate Mortgage 6.71% conforming & 7.8% jumbo

The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 6.71 percent on Tuesday, from 6.44 percent on Friday, according to HSH Associates, a publisher of consumer rates. The average rate for so-called jumbo loans, which cannot be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was 7.8 percent, the highest since December 2000.

Freddie and Fannie together own about $1.5 trillion in mortgage securities and home loans, and they guarantee an additional $3.7 trillion in securities held by other investors. The companies had a combined net worth of $55 billion as of March. Analysts and critics say the companies need significantly more capital to cushion the blow of growing losses on the more-risky mortgages made during the boom. Source

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may need to record more writedowns after they expanded their purchases of non-guaranteed subprime and Alt-A mortgage securities just as other investors fled to safer investments, their regulator said.

The value of $217 billion of the so-called non-agency securities is falling as other financial firms write down their holdings, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said in its annual mortgage market report. Privately issued securities backed by subprime mortgages made up 9.2 percent of the companies' combined portfolio, while Alt-A represented about 5.8 percent, Ofheo said.

By investing ``heavily'' in private-label securities in 2004 and 2005, the companies ``significantly increased their exposure to fair value losses from changes in market prices,'' Ofheo said. Structured investment vehicles and securities firms, battered by $452 billion in asset writedowns and credit losses, were invested in similar securities and have contributed to the price swings that may lead to more losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under generally accepted accounting principles.

``To the extent that those institutions recognize fair value losses on their private-label portfolios under GAAP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have to do so as well,'' the Washington-based regulator wrote in the report. Source

Subprime makes up 9.2% of the GSE's portfolio at a total of over $200 billion dollars. Imagine what happens when that portfolio has to be written down. Source

Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two biggest U.S. mortgage finance companies, owned a record $6.9 billion of foreclosed homes on March 31, compared with $8.56 billion held by all 8,500 U.S. commercial banks and savings and loans ... for a total of $15.5 Billion currently held in U.S. foreclosed properties.

A large percentage of existing home sales are previously foreclosed properties (41.9% of sales in California in June were previously foreclosed), and yet, REOs are still piling up at Fannie Mae and elsewhere. The problem is clearly getting worse ... Source

That is why Hank Paulson and in turn Christopher Cox are waving their independent but coordinated wands in an effort to 1) prevent a market run on the price of bank and investment bank stocks until there is enough time to reflate the U.S. housing market, and 2) ultimately recapitalize our primary mortgage lenders – FNMA and Freddie Mac. An interesting press release by the CBO on July 22nd, by the way, points out that the GSEs are barely solvent (9 billion dollars) when their assets are valued at current market prices. Housing’s cow needs to turn into a bull real quick. Source