Mobile home By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

In a move that could assist many low-income people buying their own home, the giant mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may soon begin financing mobile home purchases.

Making such loans would likely draw criticism that lending for manufactured home purchases is risky, as these properties are often on leased land and they depreciate quickly. Fannie and Freddie, which are regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, say that their proposals are in response to the nationwide need to offer affordable housing to low-income families, an issue that has persisted since the 2008 bailouts. The bailouts require that both agencies focus on manufactured housing, rural housing and affordable housing preservation.

More than 12 million Americans owned a manufactured home in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while nearly five and a half million rented one. Those who owned their homes were more than likely ineligible for a standard mortgage because they didn’t own the land where the home is located. More commonly, these homeowners took out personal property loans that carry a higher interest rate and are shorter-term than a typical 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

“We want to look at it from a long-term sustainable lens,” Mike Dawson, a Freddie single-family vice president, told Bloomberg. “If we participate, we want to make sure that there are responsible lending guidelines associated with it.”
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