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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

Windham Estates to get more fire hydrants

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As part of a long-overdue water line replacement, the Windham neighborhood will get nine more fire hydrants. Right now there is only one hydrant servicing Windham Estates.

The garden of Michael and Betsy Gordon in Peterborough is one of six on the Aug. 23 Open Days tour in the Monadnock Region.

Monadnock-area garden tour Aug. 23

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The Garden Conservancy's next NH open gardens day focuses on the Monadnock Region.

Community garden in Salem busts out all over, causing concern

READER COMMENTS: 0

It has been a great growing season at the town's community gardens at Hawkins Farm, in fact, maybe a little too good for some gardeners who have been expanding their plots more than is allowed.

Exploring New Hampshire's not-so-secret gardens

READER COMMENTS: 0

These gardens aren't exactly a secret – most of them are public – but some of them will make you feel like you are walking into a fairy tale. Historic, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, unique;...

New Hampshire Agricultural Fairs create fun for all

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We've already seen some fairs go by. But they start early in New Hampshire.

With Market Basket shelves bare, fresh produce from the Salem Farmers Market could be more popular than ever this weekend.

Salem Farmers Market organizers planning for big turnout

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The Salem Farmers Market is reliably one of the busiest and best attended in the state. But this Sunday's market looks like it could be the busiest it has ever seen.

Nashua developer Gerald Nash

Developer Jerry Nash leaves legacy of honest real estate deals

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In addition to his success as a New Hampshire real estate mogul, and his fame for being one of the most active developers in the state, Gerald “Jerry” Nash was a man of his word,...

Enzo Scott, 8, of Auburn feels the runoff as Garden Manager Tracy Morley pours water on a clump of straw while giving a lesson in the 4-H Teaching Garden at Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn last week. Also pictured is Jacob Sevigny, 10, of Bedford.

More than plants grow in 4-H Teaching Garden

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Lessons in helping others are growing in a garden plot on the grounds of the Massabesic Audubon Center.

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...