Fannie Mae Cites Record Volume, Expects Repeat Multi-Family Performance

With fundamentals steady and lenders now pricing risk adequately, Fannie Mae expects further strong multi-family performance following its record volume last year of $60 billion. “If you look at all the metrics for the multi-family business, they’re positive,” remarked Phil Weber, senior vice president of the multi-family division, during a press conference Monday at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multi-family Housing Convention & Expo. Fannie Mae saw increases across most of its lending categories, according to Heidi McKibben, vice president of multi-family. That news is particularly good in the current uncertain market because 88 percent of multi-family units the entity financed last year were affordable for families at or below the median income in their communities, with 51 percent for low-income families and 59 percent in underserved markets. Of the $60 billion total volume—which included DUS, CMBS and tax-credit financing–DUS loans comprised $18.1 billion, structured transactions $11.7 billion and large pool volume $12.7 billion. Affordable housing totaled $2.2 billion. As for the future, Weber pointed to an expected U.S. population growth of 14 million people over the next five years, a 1 percent annual growth rate, with the primary renter cohort of 21-to-34 year olds expected to grow to 58.1 million from 56.9 million. In addition, U.S. jobs are expected to grow to 150.2 million from 141.8 million, with vacancies expected to increase by just 1 percent and rent growth easing but still growing at 1 to 2 percent. Absorption likewise will be slow but will remain positive. In addition, an anticipated continued slow single-family housing market will contribute to the attractiveness of the rental market, although a resultant oversupply of both single-family and condominium housing will be added to the rental market, creating increased competition for traditional multi-family rental housing. That is especially the case in the South and West, Weber said. He noted that one market in Florida has an 80-month supply of condos on the market, while nationwide 250,000 condo units are still under construction and due to be added to the market this year, versus 193,000 in 2007 and 163,000 in 2006. “They got loans (and) had to keep building,” he noted. Meanwhile, about 194,000 apartment units should be added this year, up from 171,000 in 2007 and 179,000 in 2006. “Overall, fundamentals are solid,” Weber said. “We’re very optimistic. We think the next 20 years of DUS will be even greater than the past 20 years.” For more coverage of this conference by our sister publication Multi-Housing News please go toMulti-Housing News or click on the stories below:SPECIAL REPORT: Mortgage Bankers Conference’s Opening Session Places Positive Spin on Credit Turmoil Commercial/Multifamily Loan Originations Down in Q4, Says MBA Report