Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Help for Housing?

Today's housing news is grim. The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price national index reports a whopping 16.6% decline in the third quarter (compared to last year same time). The happy news here is that the Federal Reserve has just announced another program, this time to purchase the direct obligations of housing-related government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). That is: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks--and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. Not surprisingly, the aim here is to lower the cost of home mortgages and increase availability in an attempt to stabilize the housing market. Not much on details yet, but this is the first major effort towards housing. Although much effort and attention has been on the health of the banks, the housing market has been waiting there, problematic as ever, needing attention. The Federal Reserve is overdue in tackling housing, but its not like they've not been busy.

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