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Fannie Mae profit points to US housing recovery

Fannie Mae profit points to US housing recovery
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A huge profit posted by mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae is another sign that the US housing market is slowly recovering.

Its $17.2 billion annual profit for last year(13.4 billion euros) is its largest ever yearly gain and its first in six years.

Last month Freddie Mac its smaller partner company revealed profit of $11 billion (8.56 billion euros).

They are both returning to health as home prices have levelled off and fewer Americans are failing to repay their mortgages.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the US government in 2008 as losses mounted on sub-prime loans not being repaid.

Fannie Mae said in its filing that it did not book a tax-related gain that could have been as much as $59 billion. That would have fueled earnings and allowed the company to make an enormous one-time payment to the US Treasury to reduce remaining bailout funds.

The company had missed its March 18 filing deadline for its fourth-quarter financial results and said it needed more time to analyse those so-called deferred tax assets, which are unused credits that can be used to cover future tax bills.