Walker & Dunlop Closes $1.3B Seniors Housing Financing Deal

Walker & Dunlop is starting off 2016 strong with a $1.3 billion seniors housing refinancing package, marking the largest transaction in the company's history.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Willy Walker, Walker & Dunlop Chairman and CEOWalker & Dunlop is kicking off 2016 with a bang—a billion-dollar bang. The commercial real estate finance company just announced its closing of an approximately $1.3 billion refinancing package for seniors housing operator Holiday Retirement.

The financing comes in the form of a group of 7-year adjustable-rate loans through Freddie Mac, with a portfolio of 78 independent living facilities spanning 30 states serving as collateral.

“This transaction portrays Freddie Mac’s commitment to providing liquidity for the senior housing market. Furthermore, it demonstrates Walker & Dunlop’s knowledge of the sector and ability to structure and close large transactions,” Russell W. Dey, W&D’s vice president of healthcare and multifamily finance, told CPE.

W&D wrapped up the transaction in a short 47 days, but the expeditious closing was just one highlight of the refinancing—the deal also marks the largest transaction in the history of W&D, which was formed in 1937 and went public in 2010. The company, however, is no stranger to big-ticket deals. In March 2015, on behalf of New Senior Investment Group, W&D originated a $670 million first-mortgage loan secured by 52 seniors housing facilities through Freddie Mac.

W&D is confident that more mega-financing transactions are in its future. “The nice thing is that with our scale, with both Fannie and Freddie, Walker & Dunlop is very much in the mix on almost every large transaction,” Willy Walker, chairman & CEO of W&D, said during the company’s third quarter earnings call in November 2015. “I would put forth to you that on all of the big transactions going on, we are in the mix and it’s our expectation that we will win our fair share of large deals as we move forward.”

These “large deals” will likely include more seniors housing financing as, according to Walker, the company plans to continue expanding its presence in the thriving seniors housing sector. W&D completed $2.8 billion of senior housing financing in 2015.