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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

The Villa Augustina School has stood empty since it closed in June.

Goffstown School Board abandons plans to buy, renovate Villa Augustina

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Following a tour of the Villa Augustina School on Mast Road on Saturday, the Goffstown School Board has decided to not pursue purchasing and renovating the former Catholic school to address growing...

The Villa Augustina School has stood empty since it closed in June.

Goffstown School Board tours Villa Augustina School as purchase explored

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Members of the Goffstown School Board, School Administrative Unit 19 Superintendent Brian Balke, and town residents toured the closed Villa Augustina School property on Saturday, hoping to get a...

Stayci Fast of Ivy Home & Garden in Windham make a kitchen island holiday display that includes flowering bulbs and spices at a home in Windham.

Professional designers talk about high-end trends in holiday decor

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Professional decorators share a glimpse of this year's high-end holiday trends

School district moves ahead on appraisal of Villa Augustina property

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The Goffstown School Board continued discussions on Monday night about the possibility of purchasing the former Villa Augustina School campus to address growing space needs in the district.

Fall color in Yellowstone National Park.

Nature photography a shared passion for Nashua couple

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A hobby became a passion and a career for the photographers Hudnall

The Planning Board recently OK'd a subdivision of the Rockingham Park property.

Planning board decision will clear path for sale of Rockingham Park parcel

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A parcel on the north side of the 170-acre property is under agreement for a sale to local developer and restaurant owner Joseph Faro.

Portsmouth's 1763 Moffatt-Ladd House will be decked out for its first Celebration of Wreaths and Trees this weekend.

Portsmouth events put a period on decorating

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Decorations help set the tone for most people's holiday experiences, which serves as the backdrop for two very unique and different events — one brand new, the other well into its fourth decade...

Susan Dromey Heeter's Down to Earth: From free events come great memories

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While driving to school with my daughter, we spotted one of those ancient television sets on the side of the road — the kind that worked not only as an entertainment center in the '60s and '70s...

Some gardeners won't be welcome at Salem community farm

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Overseeing Salem's community gardens at Hawkins Farm has come with its share of challenges over the past several years.

Salem zoning board says no to 2nd hearing for senior housing development on mausoleum property

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There will be no second hearing on a variance that would allow a senior housing development to be built on the property of a Pond Street mausoleum.