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Executive Perspectives Blog

One reason community based lenders are known for delivering quality service is because they are deeply rooted in the markets they serve and often know their customers on a first-name basis. Maintaining this legacy in the new world we live in requires community based lenders to adapt to new regulations, technologies, and customer demands despite having smaller staff and fewer resources than their bigger competitors.

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As we look forward to 2014, we see reasons to be optimistic about the economy. Led by a resurgent housing sector, 2014 should shape up to be better than 2013, with consensus forecasts placing economic growth in the 2.5 to 3.0 percent range, more than 0.5 percentage points better than is expected for 2013. A quickening in the recovery pace will also lead to more job creation and should push the unemployment rate below 7 percent, perhaps by mid-2014. We expect single-family home sales and housing starts to be at the highest level since 2007, and expect multifamily transactions and construction to post gains as well. Despite rising mortgage rates and continued property-value appreciation, housing will remain generally affordable in most parts of the country. With household formations expected to pick up and new home completions gaining more slowly, for-sale inventories may remain tight and vacancies low next year.

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In the debate about the future of housing finance, one thing most parties agree on is the need to reduce the taxpayers’ role in the market. We are leaders in developing and introducing to the market innovative ways to attract new sources of capital, and thereby transfer a portion of our residential mortgage credit risk exposure away from taxpayers and to private firms like banks, insurance companies, and mutual funds. This is not only good for taxpayers, but we think it makes good business sense and have made risk-sharing transactions a part of our business strategy.

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This morning, Freddie Mac reported pre-tax net income of $6.5 billion for the third quarter of 2013, which is our eighth consecutive quarter of positive earnings and now the second largest in our company’s history. Our net income was $30.5 billion this quarter, while comprehensive income – which we believe to be the most important measurement of our results – was $30.4 billion. This includes a one-time federal income tax benefit of $23.9 billion.

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A fairly typical pattern for American households for decades has been much the same as my own experience. I grew up in an apartment (in New York City) and lived in apartments throughout college, graduate school, and my first few years in the workforce; my wife and I purchased our first house shortly before we had our first child. However, subtle signs indicate that a new pattern may be emerging.

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Our Executive Perspectives feature insights from company leaders on key trends in housing finance and how Freddie Mac is supporting the nation's housing recovery.

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