Fannie Mae is once again begging the American taxpayer for a bailou– oh, wait. Fannie actually turned a $2.7 billion profit for the first quarter, and will be paying $2.8 billion back to the Treasury.

Remember that Fannie (and Freddie, and the FHA — that is, you and me) had to rescue all those private lenders who made bad loans? It cost us all a bundle, but now it looks like we’ll start to get some of it back.

Per the AP:

The company was able to report the gain mostly because it had lower expenses for its losses. Two key reasons for that: home price declines have slowed and fewer mortgages are in serious delinquency.

The gain also adds to evidence of slow improvement in the home market five years after the housing bubble burst. (Emphasis mine.)

So Fannie is making back some of the money it spend bailing out the banks, and it’s another box you can tick under “Yet more signs the housing market is recovering.” Sounds like a fine start to the day to me.

Update/clarification: Fannie has taken $117.1 billion in federal aid, and has paid back $22.6 billion of it so far.