The National Association of Realtors says the Federal Government buying Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac will drive down interest rates and stabilize the market in the coming months

Great news for home buyers, home sellers, and the U.S. economy is how the National Association of Realtors® greeted this morning’s announcement by the Federal Reserve that it will purchase housing-related debts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thus freeing up mortgage money on Main Street.

“This is one of the key actions we’ve been advocating ever since the Treasury altered its course on how it would use the $700 billion recovery package passed in September. This is great news for home buyers and sellers and we applaud the Fed for taking this historic step,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Housing recovery is the key to economic recovery in this country and it always has been.”

In a four-point plan submitted to Congress last month, NAR called for the Treasury Department to purchase mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from banks to provide price stabilization for housing. Today the Fed said it would purchase mortgage-backed securities from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae for up to $500 billion. “This will be critical to a housing recovery,” McMillan said.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said purchasing debt obligations of Fannie and Freddie is an important move. “We commend the Fed decision because it will directly bring down long-term interest rates,” he said. “The level of investment should be aggressive enough to bring interest rates down in a meaningful manner. As we’ve seen in past recessions, home sales rise when mortgage interest rates fall.”

Yun said that given the present state of the mortgage market, interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are too high. “If Fed action brings down mortgage interest rates by even 1 percentage point, it would increase homes sales by 500,000 units. That should help to draw inventory down and stabilize prices.”

Yun said higher home sales are critical now to absorb inventory and stabilize prices. “Only with stabilization in home prices can we have a healthy housing and economic recovery,” he said.

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