A major piece of news in the housing sector of late has been a plan proposed by President Trump to privatize the major government-sponsored entities (GSEs) in the marketplace—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These entities, which were brought under government conservatorship in 2008 with a $191.5 billion bailout as a response to the housing crisis, have gone from being sources of concern in the market a decade ago to being quite profitable. But what might the effect on privatization be on the major modern form of home financing in the American landscape: the 30-year mortgage?
The amount of mortgage debt in the United States is surprisingly low. Though the raw number of outstanding mortgages increased during the second quarter of 2019 to reach beyond the level met at the peak prior to the so-called Great Recession, according to the Federal Reserve of New York the number of outstanding mortgages relative to home values (not including home equity lines of credit) was a lower percentage of the whole than in 2009, when it reached a high of 54.7 percent. Indeed, in the first quarter of 2019 this number hovered at just around 35.4 percent. Why should this be the case, particularly when one considers the rather recent ramping-up of real estate values throughout the nation (including in the area surrounding Phoenix)?