Freddie Mac


Freddie Mac, short for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that plays a crucial role in the United States housing market. Established in 1970, Freddie Mac operates as a public company and is responsible for providing stability, liquidity, and affordability to the mortgage market. In this article, we will delve into the history, purpose, and impact of Freddie Mac, exploring its significance in the housing industry and its role in the economy.

The History of Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac was created in response to the need for a secondary mortgage market to support the housing finance system. Prior to its establishment, the primary mortgage market was limited, with most mortgages being held by individual banks and thrifts. This lack of liquidity made it difficult for lenders to provide affordable mortgages to a broader range of borrowers.

In 1970, the federal government stepped in and chartered Freddie Mac as a GSE to address this issue. The primary goal was to create a secondary market where lenders could sell their mortgages, freeing up capital to make new loans. By purchasing mortgages from lenders, Freddie Mac provided them with the funds needed to continue lending, while assuming the risk associated with these mortgages.

Over the years, Freddie Mac has evolved and adapted to changes in the housing market. It has weathered economic downturns, implemented reforms, and played a significant role in stabilizing the mortgage market during times of crisis.

The Purpose of Freddie Mac

The primary purpose of Freddie Mac is to promote homeownership and ensure the availability of affordable mortgage financing. It achieves this by:

  • Providing liquidity to the mortgage market: Freddie Mac purchases mortgages from lenders, which allows them to replenish their funds and continue lending to new borrowers. This liquidity ensures that mortgage rates remain competitive and affordable for homebuyers.
  • Reducing risk for lenders: By purchasing mortgages, Freddie Mac assumes the credit risk associated with these loans. This encourages lenders to provide mortgages to a wider range of borrowers, including those with lower credit scores or smaller down payments.
  • Standardizing mortgage practices: Freddie Mac establishes guidelines and standards for mortgage underwriting, ensuring that lenders follow consistent and responsible lending practices. This helps maintain the integrity of the mortgage market and protects borrowers from predatory lending.

The Impact of Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac has had a significant impact on the housing market and the overall economy. Some key contributions include:

  • Increased homeownership rates: By providing liquidity and reducing risk for lenders, Freddie Mac has helped increase homeownership rates in the United States. This has allowed more individuals and families to achieve the American dream of owning a home.
  • Stabilizing the mortgage market: During times of economic downturn, such as the 2008 financial crisis, Freddie Mac played a crucial role in stabilizing the mortgage market. By purchasing troubled mortgages and providing liquidity to lenders, it helped prevent a complete collapse of the housing market.
  • Lower mortgage rates: Freddie Mac's activities in the secondary market help keep mortgage rates competitive. This benefits borrowers by making homeownership more affordable and stimulates housing demand, contributing to economic growth.
  • Supporting affordable housing initiatives: Freddie Mac has a strong commitment to affordable housing. It invests in programs and initiatives that promote affordable rental housing and sustainable homeownership for low-income and underserved communities.

The Future of Freddie Mac

The future of Freddie Mac is subject to ongoing discussions and potential reforms. The 2008 financial crisis highlighted the need for increased oversight and regulation of GSEs, including Freddie Mac. Since then, there have been proposals to reform the housing finance system and potentially privatize Freddie Mac.

However, any changes to Freddie Mac's structure and operations must carefully consider the potential impact on the housing market and the broader economy. The stability and liquidity provided by Freddie Mac have been instrumental in supporting the mortgage market, and any reforms should aim to preserve these benefits while addressing any weaknesses or risks.


Freddie Mac has played a vital role in the United States housing market since its establishment in 1970. As a government-sponsored enterprise, it has provided stability, liquidity, and affordability to the mortgage market, promoting homeownership and supporting economic growth. Through its activities in the secondary market, Freddie Mac has increased homeownership rates, stabilized the mortgage market during times of crisis, and helped keep mortgage rates competitive. As discussions about the future of Freddie Mac continue, it is essential to strike a balance between necessary reforms and preserving the benefits it brings to the housing industry and the economy as a whole.

Leave a Reply