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Friday, September 02, 2011

Foreclosures: Uncle Sam And His 248,000 Homes

U.S. taxpayers are the biggest owners of repossessed homes. For now, they’re stuck with them

For sale or rent by distressed owner: 248,000 homes. That’s how many residential properties the U.S. government now has in its possession, the result of record numbers of people defaulting on government-backed mortgages. Washington is sitting on nearly a third of the nation’s 800,000 repossessed houses, making the U.S. taxpayer the largest owner of foreclosed properties. With even more homes moving toward default, Fannie Mae (FNMA), Freddie Mac (FMCC), and the Federal Housing Administration are looking for a way to unload them without swamping the already depressed real estate market.

Trouble is, they haven’t figured out how to do that. The government admitted as much in August, when Fannie, Freddie, and FHA issued a joint plea to the public for ideas about how to solve the problem. (Give it your best shot: You have until Sept. 15 to submit ideas to “They’re stuck,” says Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, a Washington-based consultant that advises banks and other clients on government policy. “They don’t know what to do.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When the 1st stimulus package was being kicked around,a friend of mine had an idea.He suggested that the money could be spent to pay off the difference between the initial home purchase price and what it was worth in the current market.Am I safe in assuming that homes are now worth about half of what they were worth at the peak of the housing spike?Probably not anything that has'nt been thought of before,but a thought nonetheless.