The secondary market for mortgages made on trust lands in Indian country is slowly gaining momentum, though it has yet to blossom.
One key reason is that not all tribes have passed resolutions to allow mortgage lending on their reservations.
Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored enterprise with a mandate to encourage homeownership by buying mortgage loans, opened a partnership office here in February to buy government and conventional loans.
It has bought loans from five tribes in New Mexico, including the Navajo Nation and the pueblos of Cochiti, Jemez, Pircuris, and Isleta, said Mark Vanderlinden, deputy director housing impact for the New Mexico Partnership Office.
Most of the loans have been government-insured, but Fannie has purchased conventional loans from one tribe and has developed a conventional lending product for the Navajo Nation and the Laguna and Pojoaque pueblos.
Fannie Mae has helped to provide "the infrastructure to make it possible for lenders to participate and for tribes to have access" to mortgage finance, Mr. Vanderlinden said.
Fannie also has given tribes a package of model legal documents to help clear the path for mortgage lending on trust lands. If adopted, the legal model would allow the sale of both government and conventional loans to the secondary market.
"We're hoping to save the tribes money and legal fees and a lot of time," Mr. Vanderlinden said. "Hopefully it will spur the process."
Some lenders say Fannie's requirements translate to added costs, prompting them to stick with government programs.
Fannie Mae will not accept surveys of home sites performed by pueblos and wants engineered surveys instead, said Paul Jurkowski, community reinvestment officer for New Mexico residential mortgage lending at First Security Bank of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
"Title insurance is the only requirement we have that the government programs don't have," Mr. Vanderlinden said. In the long run, he said, private mortgage insurance is cheaper than government mortgage insurance or guarantees, and Fannie requires it only for loans with high loan-to-value ratios, he said.