Remember the 2008 financial and subprime mortgage crises? Of course you do. So you’ve likely at least heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) buy and sell mortgage-backed securities, purchase mortgages, and guarantee a great number of mortgages in the U.S. Thanks to the deterioration of the housing market, the damaged state of each enterprise’s financial condition, and to avoid placing either or both entities into receivership, these two companies came to public attention when the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) placed them into conservatorship on September 6, 2008. This gave the federal government broad control over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it began working with both enterprise’s boards to reduce losses and operational and credit risk and to stabilize the mortgage and housing markets. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have since started making money again, and the FHFA has continued to adjust the goals of the conservatorship. Yet despite assurances that conservatorship is not a long-term solution, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain under it, prompting an ongoing debate about when and how to end the arrangement.
For more moments in housing history, check out the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® timeline.