In the wake of the housing market collapse, Fannie Mae's real estate-owned inventory decreased for the first time at the end of 2011.
According to a recent report from the government-sponsored enterprise, during the fourth quarter last year, the company's REO inventory declined 27 percent to an estimated 118,500 units. Leading up to this point, the inventory grew every year since 2007 as foreclosed houses and mortgage delinquencies continued to plague the marketplace.
Overall, this was a positive development, as it made way for more profitability and greater economic stability at the company.
"While economic factors such as falling home prices and high unemployment produced strong headwinds for our business again in 2011, we continued to grow a very strong new book of business as we have since 2009," said Fannie Mae president and CEO Michael J. Williams.
Regionally, the report indicated that 23 percent of the existing REO inventory is located in California, while Florida had an 11.5 percent share. However, Fannie recently announced the launch of a pilot program that would work to sell these distressed properties in bulk as a way to cut down on an elevated vacancy rate in parts of the country.