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WASHINGTON, DC-A new survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America reports Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accounted for 30% of $32.6 billion in mortgage originations during the first half of 2001. The total was up 30% from the same period last year, but down 12% from the $37.1 billion reported for the second half of 2000. MBAA attributed the increase year-over-year to lending for multifamily housing, where volume increased to $16.2 billion in the first two quarters of this year versus $10.1 billion in the same period last year. And the bulk of that increase went to Fannie and Freddie.

Specifically, those two organizations funded 28.8% of the dollar amount, or about $9.4 billion of the $32.6 billion. Based on the number of loans, the pair accounted for 30.6% of all loans, or 1,154 of 3,767 loans.

Since MBAA started surveying its members about two years ago, life insurance companies had been the traditional leader in loan originations. But they fell to third in this year by a dollar amount, as conduits provided 24.3% in originations, and the insurance companies provided 22.9%. For the first half of 2000, Fannie and Freddie provided only 18.6%, while conduits provided 23.8% and life companies led the way with 28.5%.

The reason for the strength of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is the flight to quality that investors think multifamily properties provide. Jeanette Rice of Lend Lease Real Estate Investments says, “In contrast to the office and industrial market, the apartment market is holding up very well in the weaker economy.” Rice is the chairwoman of MBAA’s commercial real estate finance research committee. Rice adds that, although mortgage rates are generally very low, economic uncertainty is keeping families in apartments versus taking advantage of the low rates.

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