Fannie Reembraces Subprime Mortgages

What we’ve learned over the past three years, courtesy of the NYT:

When the housing bubble burst, one of the culprits, economists agreed, was exotic mortgages, including those that required little or no money down.

But on a recent evening, Matthew and Hannah Middlebrooke stood in their new $115,000 three-bedroom ranch house here, which Mr. Middlebrooke bought in June with just $1,000 down.

Because he also received a grant to cover closing costs and insurance, the check he wrote at the closing was for 67 cents.

“I thought I’d be stuck renting for years,” said Mr. Middlebrooke, 26, who earns $32,000 a year as a producer for a Christian television ministry.

Although home foreclosures are again expected to top two million this year, Fannie Mae, the lending giant that required a government takeover, is creeping back into the market for mortgages with no down payment.

Mr. Middlebrooke’s mortgage came from a new program called Affordable Advantage, available to first-time home buyers in four states and created in conjunction with the states’ housing finance agencies. The program is expected to stay small, said Janis Smith, a spokeswoman for Fannie Mae.

I invite you to read the rest of the article so you can learn first hand how no down payment mortgages weren’t really the problem and we need them to resurrect the housing industry. It’s a classic.

But, we probably shouldn’t worry too much about this because Fannie Mae assures us that the program will stay small. Sure it will, so what could possibly go wrong here?

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