Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were more willing to sign off on short sales during the second quarter but continued to repossess homes faster than they could sell them, according to the companies’ latest regulatory filings.

Fannie and Freddie finished the second quarter with a combined inventory of bank-owned (REO) homes of 191,500 properties, with both companies posting double-digit growth.

Fannie Mae, which reported a $1.2 billion net loss for the second quarter, said REO inventory was up nearly 18 percent compared to the first quarter of 2009, rising to 129,310 homes as of June 30.

The increase in REO inventory would have been steeper without the 21,515 short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure completed during the second quarter, a 24 percent increase from the first quarter of 2009.

But Fannie Mae said the percentage of REO inventory that it could actually put on the market declined from a year ago, in most cases because homes are still within legal redemption periods, are still occupied, or are being repaired.

Freddie Mac, in reporting a $4.7 billion second-quarter net loss, said its REO inventory hit 62,190 properties at the end of June, up 79 percent from a year ago.

Freddie Mac reported signing off on 12,498 short sales during the quarter, a 30 percent increase from the previous quarter and four times as many short sales as the 3,093 approved during the first quarter of 2009.

The mortgage guarantor still acquired more properties during the second quarter (34,667) than its servicers disposed of (26,316), with the number of properties acquired rising 18 percent from the previous quarter and 58 percent from a year ago.

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