WASHINGTON Dec 3 Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac said on Monday they would provide a break
for borrowers facing foreclosure to ensure those having problems
making monthly mortgage payments will remain in their homes
during the holidays.
Fannie Mae said its eviction moratorium would apply to
single-family homes and two- to four-unit properties from Dec.
19 through Jan. 2, 2013. Freddie Mac said it would offer the
suspension from Dec. 17 through Jan. 2, 2013.
The aid allows families to avoid eviction during that time,
but doesn't mean the foreclosure process will be put on hold.
The inventory of foreclosed homes remains a problem for the
nascent U.S. housing market recovery, and has been weighing on
property values. More than 3.5 million homes have been
foreclosed on in the last four years, and about 10.8 million
borrowers owe more than their properties are worth.
"We're taking this step in support of families who have
faced financial challenges," said Terry Edwards, executive vice
president of credit portfolio management at Fannie Mae. "The
holidays are a chance to be with loved ones and we want to
relieve some stress at this time of year."
The government-backed mortgage lenders encouraged homeowners
to promptly reach out for help and also promoted resources for
those at risk of losing their home, including mortgage help
centers, hotlines and websites with more details on foreclosure
Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have already provided
foreclosure-aid to borrowers with government-owned loans that
are dealing with disaster-related damage in the wake of
superstorm Sandy. The two companies have had moratoria to
relieve burdens for borrowers around the holidays for the past
couple of years.
Fannie and Freddie, the two largest sources of U.S. housing
money, were taken over by the government in September 2008 at
the height the financial crisis.
The companies do not directly make loans. To provide a
steady stream of funds, they buy mortgages from lenders and
either hold them or repackage them as securities, which they
sell to investors with a guarantee.