South Florida Business Journal, Monday, February 16, 2009

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has joined the growing list of institutions agreeing to suspend foreclosures.

The two said they will suspend all foreclosure sales involving occupied single-family and two- to four-unit properties through March 6.

The suspension will give loan servicers more time to help troubled borrowers find an alternative to foreclosure.

The housing giants, which were seized by the government last fall, had said they would suspend evictions and foreclosure sales between Nov. 26 and Jan. 9, a decision affecting thousands of proposed sales.

The latest suspension does not apply to vacant properties in foreclosure.

McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) and Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) own or guarantee almost half of the country’s mortgages.FNM) own or guarantee almost half of the country’s mortgages.

Freddie Mac said it gives lenders servicing its mortgages broad authority to provide forbearance to borrowers who are not yet delinquent. In addition, lenders can provide permanent rate reductions, mortgage term extensions, forbearance of principal or other modifications to borrowers who are already delinquent.