Sunday, March 23, 2008

Deschutes Gets Dissed by Fannie and Freddie

When Fannie and Freddie make a move, the real estate industry takes notice. But when they tightened the rules for mortgages in Deschutes County, our

Posted By on Sun, Mar 23, 2008 at 11:38 AM

When Fannie and Freddie make a move, the real estate industry takes notice. But when they tightened the rules for mortgages in Deschutes County, our local daily didn't bat an eyelash.

Fannie and Freddie are Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC), two government-sponsored enterprises that insure most of the home mortgage loans in this country. Home buyers typically need mortgage insurance if they can't make a down payment of 20% or more.

In the wake of the popping of the real estate bubble, Fannie and Freddie have flagged portions of three Oregon counties - Deschutes, Lane and Jackson - as high-risk and imposed tighter restrictions on the types of mortgages they'll guarantee there. The designation will make it harder for buyers - especially first-timers and others who don't have much money for a down payment - to get mortgages and could have the effect of worsening and prolonging the local real estate slump.

The Oregonian ran an Associated Press story about Fannie and Freddie's new rules at the top of the front page of its Business section on Friday, with a sidebar headlined "Insurers flag Jackson, Deschutes counties." But for whatever reason, The Bulletin didn't pick up it up.

Our hometown rag did run a piece on Thursday noting that Wells Fargo had downgraded its rating of the Deschutes and Jackson County markets to "soft" - but it put its own spin on the news, quoting Doug Houser, Wells Fargo's Central Oregon home mortgage branch manager, as saying: "Basically, the opportunity is ripe. For a borrower, it's just a great time. Values are great and interest rates have remained low, which usually don't happen at the same time."

So get out there and buy, buy, BUY before April 25 arrives and Bend home prices shoot through the roof again.

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