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National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Charlie Oppler issued the following statement after the Federal Housing Finance Agency and U.S. Treasury Department on Jan. 14 announced changes that will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to retain more of their earnings as important capital rather than passing them directly to the Treasury. NAR appreciates administration efforts to ensure market stability and liquidity during the ongoing pandemic. The nation’s largest trade association is concerned, however, that these changes may limit the enterprises’ ability to appropriately serve the overall U.S. housing market as intended, most notably as it relates to first-time buyers, those in underserved communities, investor properties and second-home purchases.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been dramatically transformed in the wake of the Great Recession, and NAR is glad to see them continuing to strengthen and stabilize as they fulfill their mission both in times of crises and prosperity,” said Oppler. “While we are grateful additional steps were taken toward this goal on Thursday, much work remains in this process and we look forward to furthering conversations with Congress and with the current and future administration in effort to secure GSE reform that will protect American consumers, homebuyers and taxpayers.”

The Government Sponsored Enterprises buy loans from lenders and bundle them into securities, which they sell to investors with a guarantee. But in order to back these guarantees, the GSEs need loss-taking capital. NAR has long supported GSE reforms and continues to advocate for locking in beneficial changes made since the 2008 financial crisis. [Thursday] afternoon, NAR brought together policy, academic and financial market experts to discuss the benefits of NAR’s market utility option for consumers, taxpayers and markets.

“Any considerations to limit financing on entry-level borrowers, second homes or investor properties will have a negative impact on borrowing costs and a broader impact on the rental market,” said Oppler, a REALTOR® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. “This would only undermine the GSEs’ ability to fund many of their charter duties and appropriately serve U.S. taxpayers and consumers.”

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