Watt could shift course on housing policy

The new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) could be signaling a major shift in policy, from one focused on winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a greater focus on access to mortgages, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Mell Watt, who will be sworn in Monday as the agency’s top regulator, has signaled a willingness to delay a loan-fee increase seen by consumer groups as a potential drag on the housing market, according to the newspaper.

The delay would amount to a significant shift in the course charted by previous acting FHFA director Edward DeMarco.

“Analysts said the reversal signals that ensuring access to mortgage credit likely will be higher on Mr. Watt's agenda than other competing policy goals, such as reducing the government's role in housing markets, a top priority of the FHFA in recent years,” the WSJ’s Nick Timiraos writes.

Check out the full Wall Street Journal story here.