I just heard that FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) has implemented a hike to the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guarantee fee. This is the fee that the GSE’s (Government Sponsored Enterprises) which are now actually GOE’s (Government Owned Enterprises) pays to the government for their backing. They raised this fee to pay for the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut, signed by President Obama! The announcement said specifically:
The two-month extension of the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut, signed by President Obama December 23, holds immediate implications for the GSEs. The law requires the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to increase Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s guarantee fees by at least 10 basis points over the 2011 average for all single-family, mortgage-backed securities. The increase will be remitted to the U.S. Treasury, rather than retained as reserves by the Enterprises. The law goes into effect immediately. The FHFA must also create a schedule of guarantee fee increases over the next two years. Uh oh, look out. So this means interest rates can go up, because fees go up. Usually interest rates go up because the market pushes them up, but now they are going up because the government is looking to pay for a giveaway! Outrageous! We should all be howling. While the administration is taking credit for this payroll tax cut, it’s paying for it on the backs of homeowners over the next several years!
Because of this, I have seen banks already increased their pricing to incorporate this added fee, which looks like it may be as much as 1/8% in interest rate. So some mortgage clients may have noticed interest rates have gone up a bit overnight seemingly. Now they know why.
This deal to increase mortgage fees essentially pays for the ongoing payroll tax holiday through additional fees collected through the GSE’s over the next 10 years, projected to be about $70 billion. So the current payroll tax holiday is being subsidized by additional fees on current and future homeowners. This issue is buried, and I highly doubt many people are aware of this. Anyone else mad?