Following the FHFA's placement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a conservatorship, Big Builder launched an online survey to gauge its readers' reactions. Results were mixed as to the long-term implications for the residential real esate industry. Of 29 total respondents, 35.7% predicted the move will help to stabilize the housing market, as opposed to 28.6 who said it would have little to no impact; an optimistic 14.3% expect the government take over to help the housing market begin to recover. As to who would bear the brunt of the resulting financial burden, taxpayers, investors, or lobbyists, most were in agreement; 65.5% selected "taxpayers", while 20.7% selected "all of the above."
When asked about the effect of the GSE bailout on the housing market relative to the impact of H.R. 3321, 42.9% said the effect would be more positive than that of H.R. 3321, while 39.3% felt it would be less positive and 21.4% expected the result to be about the same. Opinions of H.R. 3321 were mixed. While one respondent called it "a real cash benefit to buyers," another identified it as "exceedinly poor legislation."
With respect to mortgages, 51.7% stated they believed mortgage rates would drop significantly in the short term--and, as it turns out, they did. On the other hand, 27.6% said they expect to see no long-term effect on mortgage rates. Moreover, 57.1% of respondents said they do not think the GSE bailout will free up liquidity in the mortgage market.
Nearly half of respondents--48.3%--said they believe the hit to investors' equity in the GSEs will take away from their ability to invest in the home building sector, while 24.1% disagreed and 27.6% were unsure. "Less money means less money to invest," said one respondent. "Also, why would someone want to invest in junk stocks? The housing sector and financial sectors are in the toilet and are going to stay there for the next 18 months minimally.