Losses absorbed from bad mortgages made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could end up costing the government $363 billion according to the companies' regulator.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency ran stress tests under varying scenarios. The best case, with improving housing prices, saw the government-sponsored mortgage operators drawing a cumulative $221 billion in taxpayer money. If house prices drop, the bill would hit $363 billion.
"These are not predictions; the results reflect the potential effects of a limited set of hypothetical changes in house prices, a key variable driving credit losses for the enterprises," said FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.
To date, Fannie and Freddie have drawn $148 billion from the Treasury Department under the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements program. The government took over the two enterprises in September 2008 as they faced a financial crunch.