Yesterday RealtyTrac published a good article talking about the debate currently going on in Washington D.C. about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. There are several moving parts in this whole ordeal that investors should be aware of. Rather than trying to regurgitate those for you here, we suggest you read the article from RealtyTrac.
It's mind boggling how much money the government is pulling in from Frannie and Freddie now. However, at the same time it feels like we've been down this road before. Mortgage rates can't stay this low forever, can they? Everything is rosy now, but what happens if this new real estate bubble that seems to be forming pops? As soon as mortgage rates start to go back to a normal range, what's going to happen to the housing market?
Housing values are being inflated thanks to historically low interest rates. When that 3.75% 30 year fix mortgage goes to 5%, all the sudden instead of being able to afford a $300,000 house, that same homebuyer will only be able to afford a $260,000 home. The housing market simply won't be able sustain current values once this rate increase happens. Then, just like we saw before, the snow ball effect will come into play and things will get exponentially worse.
If the government shuts down Freddie and Fannie, you can be that rates are going to increase a lot faster than they would otherwise. At the same time, though, this current model is not sustainable either, at some point it is going to crash, and the government is going to be on the hook. I suppose at least this time around the government gets to participate in the upside. Too bad they don't do a a better job of managing the profits.