Breaking Orange County and California housing news! California Attorney General Kamala Harris has urged the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the federal regulator overseeing Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac, to halt foreclosures on loans and consider debt forgiveness for homeowners in our state, the most populous one in the country.  In a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Harris requested a suspension of foreclosure sales in California for the more than 6% of loans in the state owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which together back most U.S. mortgages.

The letter, by Democrat AG Harris, heats up a debate over the best way to ameliorate the U.S. housing crisis. Harris has been unhappy with the way the Federal Housing Finance Agency has handled this important issue from the beginning of her tenure and in November, after DeMarco resisted widespread cuts to mortgage balances on grounds they may encourage more homeowners to default, Harris called on him to resign.

In California, more than 500,000 Southern and Northern California homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2008, and another 500,000 homes are in the process, or at “imminent risk,” of foreclosure so far in 2012, according to Harris’ letter. Nationwide, the market for agency mortgage securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (FMCC) or government-owned Ginnie Mae (BGNMX) totals about $5.4 trillion.

In the Feb. 24 letter, Harris said California extracted agreements from banks for principal reductions and short sales for borrowers worth a minimum of $12 billion. She said that compared to foreclosures, principal reductions offer the most help for homeowners, are the most cost effective for investors, and, according to the FHFA’s most recent data, of all available alternatives, would best serve taxpayer interests toward resolving the housing crisis.

Fannie Mae, based in Washington, and Freddie Mac were seized and placed under U.S. control in 2008 as losses on soured loans pushed them to the brink of insolvency. The two have been sustained by more than $150 billion in U.S. aid.

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Cheryl Marquis has been an active and successful real estate agent in South Orange County, California for more than 25 years. As a TOP PRODUCER in her company, Cheryl has received the specific accreditation of a Certified Relocation Specialist (CRS) and Accredited Buyers Agent (ABR) and is a member of the Who’s Who of Luxury Real Estate, a select network of the world’s leading luxury home agents. A member of C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors), N.A.R. (National Association of Realtors) and O.C.A.R. (Orange County Association of Realtors). To talk to Cheryl about buying or selling a home in Orange County, call her at 949.683.1501 or visit her online at