Friday Five: Mortgage Relief, Refi Proposal, and More

Home ownership policy highlights of the week:

Home ownership headlines and highlights of the week — your five-minute update:

Housing Wire: Freddie Mac Offers Mortgage Relief to Borrowers Hurt by Hurricane Irene

Freddie Mac is suspending foreclosure and eviction proceedings up to 12 months for distressed home owners with property damaged by Hurricane Irene.

The Wall Street Journal: White House, Regulator Considering Refinance Program Revamp  

The White House is pushing to revamp an existing federal program to allow more Americans with government-backed loans to refinance, and a federal regulator is weighing changes to accommodate that effort.

National Mortgage News: Industry Groups Urge Fast Action on GSE Loan Limits

A coalition of industry groups is urging Congress to act quickly to maintain the GSE loan limit at $729,750, saying the pending expiration is hurting both home sales and application volume.

The New York Times: Federal Regulators Sue Big Banks Over Mortgages

A bruising legal fight pitting the country’s most powerful banks against the full force of the United States government began Friday, as federal regulators filed suits against 17 financial institutions that sold the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nearly $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities that later soured.

Business Week: Mortgage Rates in U.S. Fall to Record Low, Freddie Mac Says

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 4.12% in the week ending today from 4.22%, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. That’s the lowest in the McLean, Va.-based company’s records dating back to 1971. The average 15-year rate fell to 3.33% from 3.39%.