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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

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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

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Hooksett School Board to consider land purchase

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School board members have agreed to discuss the idea of purchasing a large piece of landlocked property adjacent to Cawley Middle School, though a potential sale is far from imminent.

Karen Holland's garden jewels can be designed to sit on the ground or, as seen above, mounted on a copper pole to create a taller focal point in the garden.

Lyndeborough woman makes unique garden art

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Karen Holland started A Touch of Glass NH and began selling her hand-made, one-of-a-kind garden jewels last fall, and the interest is growing as fast as her garden grows.

Hearing for Goffstown townhouse project moved to July

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Applicants GPS Properties decided to continue the hearing to July because a quorum was not present to review the case at the last ZBA meeting.

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MY GARAGE sale has come and gone and with it a letting-go of sorts - of possessions, plans, dreams, false ideas.

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Farmers Market Open in Downtown Hanover

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Bring home the makings for a fresh, locally-grown meal or grab a snack, straight from the farm to the table.