* Freddie's total portfolio grows for first time in 2010
* Single-family delinquencies fall, multifamily edges up
NEW YORK May 25 Freddie Mac FRE.N, the No. 2
U.S. home finance agency, said on Tuesday its portfolio grew in
April for the first time in 2010 after the Federal Reserve
concluded its buying of mortgage securities in March.
The levels of home loans with late payments were mixed in
April but remained above year-ago levels, suggesting persistent
strain on home-owners due to high unemployment and a slow
recovery of the real estate market, the company's latest
monthly portfolio data showed.
High loan delinquencies stress Freddie Mac's capital and
earnings. Earlier this month, the company said it had a net
loss of $6.7 billion in the first quarter and asked for an
additional $10.6 billion in government aid. [ID:nN05623395]
Freddie Mac's total portfolio grew at a 3.0 percent
annualized rate in April, compared with an annualized fall of
9.1 percent in March.
It was the first monthly increase since the 5.7 percent
rise in December.
The Fed completed its $1.25 trillion program to buy
mortgage-backed securities at the end of March. The U.S.
central bank bought MBS and $175 billion in housing agency
bonds to try to hold down home borrowing costs and stimulate
the housing market.
Freddie Mac's business activities in April, which include
purchases and guarantee of mortgages, raised its portfolio to
The company and its larger sibling Fannie Mae FNM.N have
been buying back tens of billions of dollars in seriously
delinquent loans from the pools of mortgages they guarantee.
Signs of weakness in the housing market came on Tuesday in
the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller home price indexes, which
showed single-family home prices were unchanged in March from
February but fell in the first quarter before federal aid for
buyers expired at the end of April. [ID:nN25126468]
Despite its own financial woes, Freddie Mac's role in the
U.S. housing market has grown, as it has remained a key source
of home financing and siphoned mortgages off the books of banks
The unpaid principal balance of Freddie Mac's portfolio
rose by about $3.9 billion in April to $757.3 billion. This was
lower than the $830.3 billion a year earlier.
Delinquencies on single-family loans fell for a second
straight month to 4.06 percent in April. This was lower than
the 4.13 percent in March but above the 2.56 percent a year
Delinquencies on multifamily mortgages edged up to 0.25
percent from 0.24 percent in March and 0.12 percent a year ago,
the data showed.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by John O'Callaghan)