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THE FED’S TAKOVER OF FANNIE AND FREDDIE

On Sept. 7 the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be placed in conservatorship. Last week’s national GlobeSt.com Quick Poll asked readers if the Fed’s takeover of the entities was the best possible solution for their recent liquidity concerns. Less than half of respondents indicated that the decision is unfair to taxpayers, while 60% agreed that the takeover is a viable solution. Rosendo Caveiro, senior director of apartment brokerage services for Cushman & Wakefield of Florida, spoke with GlobeSt.com about the way commercial real estate, in the form of multifamily rental buildings, interacts with the GSEs.

“With regards to the business of owning rental communities as a real estate investor, Freddie and Fannie have been the go-to institutions for financing apartment properties. From small deals to huge deals, they’ve been generally the least expensive in terms of rates, but also had fairly stringent underwriting guidelines.

“I’m sure it wasn’t the multifamily rental business that brought these institutions down. [That] business differed from securitizing home mortgage packages, which is what really got them into trouble.

“Freddie and Fannie operated like a private corporation; [now it will be] government-run. It can become very bureaucratic. From the multifamily side, they had the system down pat. Everybody knew the guidelines and how the loans were made. Now, with the government stepping in, I’m not sure if that’s going to change or become stricter.

“My perception is that it will probably slow down the process and make it more cumbersome with the function of loaning to investors buying rental communities. The experts in multifamily financing didn’t see anything wrong with the system that was already in place for multifamily lending. What changes will happen, it’s hard to say.”

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