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Freddie Finances Fewer Housing Units in 2017

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. provided financing for 110,000 fewer housing units last year than it did in 2016. Quarterly earnings deteriorated.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2017, income before income tax expense came to $3.8 billion, according to Freddie Mac’s fourth-quarter earnings data.

Income sank from a $7.4 billion profit during the final-three months of 2016 and also deteriorated from $7.2 billion the previous three-month period.

The quarter-over-quarter deterioration reflected a steep $4.4 billion decline in other income.

An after-tax fourth-quarter loss of $2.9 billion was driven by a $5.4 billion
write-down of net deferred tax assets as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Offsetting a portion of annual losses were $2.9 billion in settlement gains.

The government-controlled enterprise reported that it provided around $429 billion in liquidity to the mortgage market last year.

Freddie’s financing funded loans for
around 2.311 million housing units during all of last year, a few less than 2.421 million in 2016. The 2017 total was comprised of 0.820 million multifamily units, 0.828 million single-family home-purchase transactions and 0.663 million single-family refinances.

Multifamily purchase volume was $73 billion — improving 29 percent from 2016 and a record.

“The guarantee book topped $2 trillion for the first time after growing 6 percent last year, the highest rate in a decade,” Freddie Mac Chief Executive Officer Donald H. Layton said in the report. “Our work to innovate and reimagine the mortgage experience — and almost all business activities — has helped increase our competitiveness and made home possible for 2.3 million homebuying and renting families in 2017.”

The single-family guarantee portfolio was up 4 percent in 2017.

The multifamily guarantee portfolio increased 28 percent to $203 billion.

Cumulative draws taken from the Department of the Treasury from 2008 to 2014 total $71.3 billion, while $112.4 billion in dividends have been paid since being forced into conservatorship in 2008.

Freddie disclosed a $312 million draw will be requested by the Federal Housing Finance Agency from the Treasury, leaving $140.2 billion available
under the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement.

Freddie’s draw request is far more meager than the $3.7 billion FHFA is requesting for rival Fannie Mae.

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