The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will issue new operational and financial eligibility requirements for all current and potential single-family mortgage sellers and servicers. The new operational requirements are expected to go into effect August 18, 2015 and the financial requirements on December 31, 2015 for Freddie Mac, and by September 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 for Fannie Mae.
As part of the FHFA’s 2014 and 2015 conservatorship scorecards for the GSEs, the agency directed the GSEs to update their counterparty standards for mortgage servicers. The new requirements are expected to allow the GSEs to operate smoothly by providing greater transparency, clarity and consistency to industry participants and other stakeholders, and reflect feedback received over the past several months. The FHFA also sent a notice and request for input to the Federal Register for a method for addressing the national average single-family house price index for use in setting the conforming loan limits of the GSEs.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales declined in April in all major regions except for the Midwest, but remained above an annual sales pace of five million for the second straight month. Total existing-home sales dropped 3 point 3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 point 4 million in April from 5 point 21 million in March. Despite the monthly decline, homes have been selling faster than at any other time since July 2013, and sales have increased year-over-year for seven consecutive months and are 6 point 1 percent above last year.