Gasoline to put out the fires

Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage- finance provider, will stop requiring bigger down payments in regions where home prices are dropping, responding to criticism from consumer and industry groups who said the company is exacerbating the housing slump.

The policy, adopted in December, will end June 1, Washington-based Fannie Mae said today in a statement. Potential homeowners approved by the company's automated computer program will be able to borrow up to 97 percent of the value of the property, the company said. Other loans will be accepted with loan-to-value ratios of up to 95 percent.

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I talk a lot about inflation. But today was the first time in my life I actually used a dollar bill as toilet paper.