Fannie, Freddie fee hike may become an election issue

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage financiers in the world, on Wednesday night announced they would impose a 0.5% fee on every refinanced mortgage starting Sept. 1. Look for it to become an issue in the campaign.

The new fee “exposes President Trump to charges that he is trying to tax housing at the height of the economic crisis,” said Jaret Seiberg, managing director of Cowen Group, a Washington D.C. research firm. “That is a political liability for the president. We expect Democrats will exploit this.”

For borrowers refinancing their mortgages, the new fee probably will cost them about $1,400 per loan, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That’s money that could have gone toward bolstering the economy in the form of consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of the nation’s GDP.

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