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Federal actions lead to housing hesitation

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By Glenn Roberts Jr. and Lai SaeternMassive federal moves that are intended to stop the bleeding in the financial markets are impacting consumer confidence in the housing market, some real estate professionals report. A Bush administration plan to buy hundreds of billions worth of mortgage-related assets will be tossed around by Congress this week (see Inman News report), and the few details and potentially far-reaching impact of the plan have reportedly made some prospective buyers hesitant to act. The announcement of that plan on Friday followed days of Wall Street chaos during which Bank of America agreed to buy Merrill Lynch & Co., 158-year-old investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy, and the federal government announced a takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (see Inman News). The federal plan to buy up bad loans seemed to temporarily quell Wall Street unease, though the calm was short-lived as oil prices shot up $16.37 a ba...