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Opinion

November 16. 2012 9:40PM

FHA tries to stave off bailout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Housing Administration, facing a $16.3 billion deficit, will increase mortgage fees next year and take other steps in an effort to avoid a taxpayer bailout, the Obama administration said on Friday.

The agency, a primary source of funding for first-time home buyers and those with modest incomes, said it would raise the premiums it charges on loans it guarantees by 10 basis points, adding, on average, about $13 per month to a borrower's cost.

A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Housing officials would not say whether the steps would be enough to keep the agency from turning to the Treasury Department for a cash infusion. "I'm not going to place bets," FHA Acting Commissioner Carol Galante told reporters.

An independent audit delivered to Congress on Friday showed the FHA had depleted the capital it would need to cover expected losses on the $1.1 trillion in mortgages it backs. It said the losses would leave the agency $16.3 billion in the red.

The FHA's troubles stem from rising defaults on mortgages it guaranteed from 2007-2009 as the housing bubble was deflating. As private capital dried up during the bust, the FHA's role grew. It now insures about 1.2 million loans, or about 15 percent of all U.S. home loans, up from 5 percent in 2006.

Galante emphasized that the White House's annual budget proposal in February would be instrumental in determining whether the agency would need taxpayer funds by the time its fiscal year expires on Sept. 30.

Any final determination would not be made until September.




Real Estate

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Home & Garden

Salem planners OK four-lot subdivision plan

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The Planning Board has approved Richard Mika's plan for a four-lot subdivision on Lakeshore Road and Goodridge Avenue.

Real Fallu shows off some of the daylilies providing a blaze of midsummer color in his Goffstown perennial garden.

Acres of summer color, without irrigation

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Tucked away from the winding street at 425 Tibbetts Hill Road is the home of Real and Leslie Fallu — a property filled with brilliant, fiery color in the second half of July each year, courtesy...

An aerial view of the plot at 12-8-4 Kilton Road, which would include a health club, retail building and restaurant.

Bedford health club proposal raises concerns

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Residents who live near a proposed health club, to be built at the corner of Kilton Road and Sullivan Drive, expressed concerns over the project at Monday night's planning board meeting.

Artist Mauli McDonald with an armful of raw materials for her designs.

Nature is the essential medium for Sunapee-area artist Mauli McDonald

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From childhood fantasies of fairy houses and unicorns, a career as a botanical artist is born.

An aerial view of the plot where the mixed-use development, including an 116-unit senior apartment building, would be built.

Developer spells out mixed-use plan for Bedford project

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A proposed mixed-use development, including a 55-and-older housing facility, at 379 South River Road is one step closer to fruition after a request for conceptual review at Monday night's Planning...

In anticipation of the July 14 start of the 2014 season, Sheila Fabrizio on Wednesday inspects the incoming blueberry crop at Windy Ridge Orchard and Christmas Tree Farm in North Haverhill. There are 1,000 pick-your-own, high-bush blueberry plants, divided among five varieties, on a two-acre parcel at the orchard which is also well known this time of year for its blueberry pancakes and blueberry wine.

Despite late start in growing season, North Country's blueberry picking season soon to be here

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Despite a slight delay due to a colder-than-normal spring, the 2014 blueberry season will soon be here and it should be delicious, say North Country growers and agriculture officials.

Terri McKinnon walks along a path through perennials in the yard in Goffstown.

Good neighbors make great gardens in Goffstown

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That three special gardens in greater Manchester are right beside each other is mostly a (very big) coincidence.

Salem community gardens enjoying a successful summer

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The growing season is a little late this year, thanks to a wet spring, but everything seems to be running smoothly at the town's community gardens at Hawkins Farm.

Route 101 expansion process in Bedford begins

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Executive Council asked to name two committees to begin laying out Bedford expansion project.

Fresh strawberries from Barrett Hill Farm in Mason, one of many New Hampshire farms offering Community Supported Agriculture programs for customers.Kathleen Baglio Humphreys

CSA offers customers a share of the farmer's green thumb

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You want garden fresh vegetables but just don't have the green thumb, land or time to plant then tend to your own garden all summer long? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an affordable and...