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On Monday, Aug. 4, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) sent a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), commenting on its proposed rule regarding capital standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The letter addresses key concerns and includes the following:

“The aggregate level of capital under this proposal is far greater than the losses taken in the crisis or estimates of potential losses provided by the FHFA.”

According to NAR, excess capital raises costs for the consumer.

“The proposal forces the GSEs to hold risk on portfolio, rather than selling it into the market.”

According to NAR, this reduces competition while increasing risks to the system and costs for the consumer.

“Excess capital is not a replacement for a strong structure and oversight.”

NAR recommends converting the GSEs into market utilities.

NAR continues to promote its proposed utility model, which highlights competition and remedies the failures of the pre-crisis system. According to NAR, this would ensure market oversight without regulating away from free market growth potential and retaining the GSE’s public mission.

NAR says, “had the GSEs been private entities when COVID-19 forced business closures and mass layoffs earlier this year, it is likely our nation’s housing market would have been devastated as the purely private GSEs pulled back, pushing our economy deeper into recession.” 

“Thank you for your time and contributions to this important topic,” the letter concludes. “While the proposal provides some important innovations, REALTORS® are concerned that the proposed rule will undermine both the enterprises’ support for homeownership and the economy, but also harm taxpayers and the safety and soundness of the housing finance ecosystem. NAR looks forward to working with the FHFA to reshape the enterprises to continue its robust housing mission.” 

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