Mortgages

Fannie, Freddie Halt Foreclosures for the Holidays

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The holiday season is stressful enough for millions of consumers across the country who are struggling with their finances, so two of the nation’s government-sponsored mortgage backers have made the decision not to take any negative actions that might dampen their moods further.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will forgo evictions of consumers who have become seriously delinquent on their mortgage payments in the few weeks surrounding the holiday season, the mortgage-backing giants announced separately earlier this week. Fannie will halt all such actions against homeowners in single-family and 2- to 4-unit properties from Dec. 19 to Jan. 3, while Freddie will do the same from Dec. 17 to Jan. 3.

“We’re taking this step in support of families who have faced financial challenges and gone through a foreclosure,” said Terry Edwards, executive vice president of credit portfolio management for Fannie Mae. “The holidays are a chance to be with loved ones and we want to relieve some stress at this time of year. We encourage homeowners having difficulty to reach out for help as soon as possible.”

These allowances are being made in addition to those already put in place in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which rocked the East Coast several weeks ago, and from which many families are still recovering, the reports said. Both will hold allow those suspensions of evictions to continue through February.

For its part, Freddie said it would continue both pre- and post-foreclosure processes during this time, and while it will not evict any homeowners during the two-week period, it will allow documentation to move forward in preparation of those events, the report said. Meanwhile, Fannie advised consumers worried about their standing to check its KnowYourOptions.com website, or call 1-800-7FANNIE for more information about how to handle the process.

Foreclosures can be extremely troubling for consumers and remains a major problem nationwide even as the overall housing market continues to improve. These negative actions taken against homeowners who fall behind on their home loan payments can depress property values in their neighborhoods and consequently make it more difficult for the housing recovery to continue at its current speeds. Fortunately, foreclosures are becoming less common as the economy continues to improve, and experts believe that home values will rise at least through the end of next year.

Image: setonhighschool, via Flickr

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