Housing regulator offers further support for mortgage-finance companies

The U.S. housing regulator on Wednesday announced its second step in as many days to help ease the liquidity strain in the mortgage market.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be allowed to buy home loans that have recently entered forbearance or loans where borrowers have stopped making payments.

“Purchases of these previously ineligible loans will help provide liquidity to mortgage markets and allow originators to keep lending,” FHFA director Mark Calabria said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the regulator said it would cap the number of payments mortgage companies must advance to investors in some government-backed mortgage bonds, in response to weeks of lobbying by industry groups warning of a brewing crisis.