The affordable housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are increasing, as a result of the fiscal U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Department of Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law in late October.
While HUD's fiscal 2000 budget made up a majority of the bill, there was language in the legislation that suggested that HUD increase the affordable-housing goals for both government-sponsored enterprises to 50% from 42% by the year 2004. The specifics of HUD's goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not been published yet, although they are expected soon.
If the goals are increased to 50%, it means that half of the loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase must be from low- and moderate-income families.
Both GSEs say that the new goals can be attained. "They will be a stretch," said David Jeffers, vice president for corporate relations at Fannie Mae. "We think stretch goals work, and we're on the road to meeting them."
"We think that taking those things that were written in the conference report are very reasonable," added Douglas Robinson, a spokesman for Freddie Mac.
However, officials at both agencies were quick to point out that the final goals had not been published yet, and that they will wait for the comment period before determining how they will specifically achieve those goals. "HUD has not finalized a change in Freddie Mac's affordable housing goals," said Robinson.
"We don't actually know how the goals will work until they're published," added Jeffers.
Along with increasing the agencies' affordable-housing goals, the VA-HUD appropriations bill also raised HUD's budget $1.5 billion over last fiscal year, allocated funding for 60,000 new Section 8 vouchers, and revamped senior citizen housing options.