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WASHINGTON, DC-A high-rise multifamily property in Laurel, MD is under contract to close within the six weeks. Valued in the $24 million range, it is being acquired by a private sector buyer with a 1031 need, Drew White, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield ‘s Capital Markets Group, tells GlobeSt.com. The seller is a locally-based REIT, White says.

The sale will be among a small handful of such transactions in the DC area in recent months–a state of affairs due in large part, of course, to the trauma in the capital markets and more recent recessionary forces. A tightening in credit and financing has also been constricting sales. In this latter respect, though, White is going out on a limb to predict a change in the lending environment in the foreseeable future.

Private equity money, which has been hunkering down on the sidelines for well over a year is going to start to enter the picture within 45 days to three months, he predicts. “There are lenders and investors out there with money and they like the multifamily fundamentals in the region,” he says, referring to the Mid-Atlantic market.

Of course, the mainstay of finance in this asset class has been the government: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to a growing extent, HUD. Indeed, increasingly loan originators and lenders are giving this agency’s multifamily finance programs a second look. One local lender tells GlobeSt.com that his firm is establishing a new desk to work with HUD, especially now that its LEAN process–a streamlined lending program–appears to be getting underway.

The combination of these trends–private equity money and a steady supply of federal support coupled with a wave of new product hitting the market – should reshape the multifamily landscape in the DC area, White predicts. “We are seeing a lot more deals starting to list in recent weeks,” he says.

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