Fannie and Freddie to the Rescue?

Policymakers want to give the mortgage lenders access to the jumbo loan market, in an effort to free up credit and stimulate home sales

Hoping to speed delivery of its $150 billion pick-me-up for the U.S. economy, the Bush Administration reluctantly agreed to temporarily increase the size of the mortgages Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) can purchase, from $417,000 to nearly double that. Proponents of the shift hope that Fannie and Freddie—which together own or guarantee about half of the $10 trillion in total home loans in the U.S.—can unfreeze the market for those "jumbo" loans and kick-start the housing market. But for a variety of reasons, Fannie and Freddie may not be in position to cure the subprime mortgage mess.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.