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DALLAS-Fannie Mae says “yes” to Dallas-based FirstWorthing’s positioning to beef up its existing eight-property University House portfolio. The $150-million dedicated loan facility marks the first of its kind for the student housing industry, says Stuart Wernick, president of Dallas’ Quantum First Capital.

The program will enable FirstWorthing to build a portfolio instead of making “one-off” buys, Wernick explains to GlobeSt.com. The credit line carries a five-year term. Not only can the adjustable rate be spun into a fixed rate at any given time, but it nips closing time to just 30 days, he adds.

As soon as Fannie Mae signed final papers, FirstWorthing immediately pulled its 232-unit property at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC into the funding pool. FirstWorthing’s year-old student housing division, University House, paid $13 million in July for the property.

Quantum and Bethesda, MD-based partner, Green Park Financial, have spent the better part of this year lobbying Fannie Mae to set up a credit line for student housing portfolio buys on FirstWorthing’s behalf. The new Fannie Mae program won’t “take away from any new deals,” Wernick stresses.

FirstWorthing execs weren’t available Wednesday for comment as to what’s in the pipeline and where. But in a prepared statement, FirstWorthing’s Chris Harness, executive vice president, did say the company is scouring the nation’s major universities for possible buys. In addition to Raleigh, the Dallas firm owns shared-living properties–today’s preferred housing type for the college crowd–in Baton Rouge, San Luis Obispo, CA, Tucson and the Texas cities of Denton, Huntsville and Richardson.

Earlier this year, Fannie Mae tested the waters with a Dedicated Student Housing pilot program, with QFC/Green Park Financial joining in the initiative. Wernick tells GlobeSt.com that the team pushed diligently for the new Fannie Mae program, including presenting a White Paper. “They (FirstWorthing) realized they needed a way to finance and expedite closings quicker than their competitors,” Wernick explains.

FirstWorthing, like Fannie Mae, is better known for its traditional multifamily venues. With the student housing complexes, FirstWorthing owns and provides property services and leasing to 50 communities in 10 states, primarily in the South. In line with the changing focus, FirstWorthing recently formed an entity level partnership with Principal Enterprise Capital, a Des Moines, IA-based institutional real estate asset manager that’s part of the Principal Financial Group, which has been on a buying spree this year of premier multifamily properties in major metropolises, including Dallas-Ft. Worth.

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