President Obama caused a stir this week when he said he'd like to see the private sector take over as the primary driver behind the mortgage market. The president went as far as to say he'd like to see Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dismantled.

It's a worthwhile idea, but there are a few obstacles. For one, the government, through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, backs 90% of all newly originated mortgages. For the most part, there really is no private mortgage market.

At the same time, the president said he'd insist on keeping the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage affordable at today's low rates. Unfortunately, the goal of the prevailing rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is incongruous with the goal of privatizing the mortgage market. We say that because private money won't lend for 30 years at today's rates without government backing.

So does this mean the end of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage? That's unlikely. At the same time, it's also unlikely we'll see a mortgage market dominated by the private sector. In other words, it looks like business as usual into the relevant future.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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