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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.




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Home & Garden

Mid-summer once again brings a treasure trove of antiques to a week of shows and related events across the Granite State.

MidWeek Antiques Show hits Concord arena

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The Granite State turns its gaze to the past once more as the MidWeek Antiques Show takes over the Douglas Everett Arena, 15 Loudon Road, from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Keeping guinea hens around the yard provides protection, meat and eggs.

Yardsmart: Guinea hens a natural – and noisy – defense against ticks

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This is the beauty of a bird that is still half wild, maintaining its self-sufficient instincts while prowling your yard and garden for ticks on ground, deadwood, shrubs and trees.

A three-story building at Hooksett's Carrington Farms condominium complex remains vacant, five months after snow caused the roof to collapse.

Long wait frustrates Hooksett condo owners

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Five months after accumulated snow collapsed the roof and drove them from their homes, owners of a Hooksett condominium building found out that they won’t likely be returning anytime soon.

The owners of Tiffany Gardens, located at 15 King John Drive in Londonderry, will open their gardens to the public this weekend as part of The Garden Conservancy's Open Days program, a series of self-guided garden tours across the nation.

Open Days features two NH gardens

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Two New Hampshire gardens are scheduled to be open for visitors this weekend in the Garden Conservancy's Open Days program.

House, garden tour on July 15 in Wolfeboro

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The 28th annual central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice Home and Garden tour is Wednesday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Outgoing Manchester Police Chief David Mara, right, sits next to two volunteers for the Police Athletic League, Gibran Ortiz Perez, center, and Victor Rodriguez, on Wednesday at the kickoff of the initiative to renovate the Michael Briggs Community Center building.

Manchester's PAL building eyes $1 million makeover

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The nonprofit organization Building on Hope announced Wednesday that it has targeted the 105-year-old Police Athletic League building in the center city for a $1 million makeover.

Mark Leven of the Bow Heritage Commission rings the bell at the Bow Bog Meeting House to call the community to gather Thursday night.

Bow Bog Meeting House returns to original role after restoration

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The Bow Bog Meeting House hosted a lecture on the history of meetinghouses to celebrate the end of a 5-year restoration project and a newly restored organ.