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HOUSTON-Lender flexibility has helped a San Francisco investor secure a 10-year, fixed-rate loan for $8.75 million to refinance the 352-unit Inwood Grove Apartments in northwest Houston. The borrower will use the financing to retire a loan assumed in 2003 when he bought the complex for $9.3 million.

“The term of the underlying loan was drawing to an end so we refinanced,” says Jim Adams, senior vice president and manager of Capmark Finance Inc.’s Houston office, who arranged the Freddie Mac financing. Located on 13 acres at 7302 Albonson Rd., the class B complex has been housing evacuees from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, which make up approximately 10% of the 93% occupancy.

Adams tells GlobeSt.com that Freddie Mac’s flexibility in the face of the hurricane-affected renters was one reason why its loan offering was so attractive over that of other lenders. “At the time, Freddie Mac didn’t necessarily look at occupancy or who was there as a condition to the loan,” he explains, adding many of the “Katrina units” are now transitioning to market rates. “There were definitely some conduits we’d approached that could underwrite those units, but Freddie Mac was the strongest dealing in that particular issue,” Adams says.

Freddie Mac was also flexible when it came to an increase in insurance premiums, which is hitting many multifamily property owners. Adams points out high insurance premiums are becoming a challenge when it comes to financing. “We were able to work with Freddie Mac and not have to adjust the loan amount based on an increase in insurance premiums,” he says. “We and Freddie Mac closed exactly on what we wanted.”

Additionally, Freddie Mac offered the borrower, Texas Inwood Grove Apartments LP, an opportunity to increase the loan amount in 12 months, based on increased cash flow, performance and property value. “They had the most aggressive loan amount with the lowest interest rate, but the other feature, being able to increase the loan amount, was icing on the cake,” Adams says.

The borrower got an 80% loan-to-value formula and 30-amortization with a fixed-rate interest. Similar loans are being floated at sub-6% with the spread 100 basis points over the 10-year Treasury.

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