Mortgage Observer

A World Without Fannie and Freddie?

Fannie Mae Headquarters

A proposed Senate bill that seeks to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next five years, revealed last month, would preserve their multifamily lending businesses under a new entity and maintain a government guarantee for the multifamily lending market, commercial lenders and brokers told Mortgage Observer.

The bill, announced by Senators Tim Johnson and Mike Crapo on March 11, focuses on the dissolution of the firms’ single-family residential mortgage business, a market that the government-sponsored entities continue to dominate six years after the beginning of the financial crisis. It also creates a provision that would spin off the companies’ multifamily businesses and establish new independent businesses within a year of the bill’s passage. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Beech Street Capital’s Grace Huebscher Finds Opportunity in Acquisition

Grace Huebscher (Photo by Susana Raab)

During last year’s Mortgage Bankers Association commercial real estate finance (CREF) conference, Grace Huebscher, president of the leading multifamily lender Beech Street Capital, found clarity on a topic she had been considering for some time—that staying ahead of the competition would require the support of a larger institutional partner. Capital One, Beech Street’s primary bank since 2010, had been on her radar, along with other top players in the finance arena. But prior to the annual event, Ms. Huebscher had felt that time was on her side.

A deeper sense of urgency set in as she listened to her peers speak about the challenges and changes ahead, from agency reductions to the return of the banking industry. That solidified a thought she and her partners had been entertaining for more than a year. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Fannie and Freddie Phase Out ‘Shocking,’ Real Estate Experts Say

Fannie Mae Headquarters

Despite their surprisingly rapid recovery five years after being placed into government conservatorship, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be dissolved, if bi-partisan legislation announced today by the Senate banking committee eventually passes.

Under the bill, private capital would have to take the first 10 percent of all mortgage losses, effectively removing much of the firm federal backing that mortgage-backed securities repackaged by Fannie and Freddie have enjoyed. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Live From Orlando: It’s the 2014 MBA CREF/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo

The MBA Super Bowl Bash

Hello dedicated readers, industry insiders and commercial real estate junkies.

We are reaching out from the Mortgage Bankers Association‘s 2014 CREF/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla. 

The four-day event kicked off last night at the Hyatt Regency Orlando hotel with several panels on the tumultuous FHA landscape and a lively Super Bowl party to cap off the night. (The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl title, defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8, for those who missed it.) Read More

Mortgage Observer

Workforce January 2014

Work Force

Blackstone Mortgage Trust has named Paul Quinlan chief financial officer, replacing Geoffrey Jervis, who resigned to pursue other opportunities. 

Mr. Quinlan, who most recently worked as head of financial planning and business development at Blackstone, will also now serve as CFO for the firm’s real estate debt strategies division. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Q&A: Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. President and CEO David Durning

David Durning

Roughly a year after taking the helm as president and CEO of Prudential Mortgage Capital Company and nearing the end of a very busy year in terms of deal volume, Mr. Durning catches up Mortgage Observer on his transition and outlook for the future.

Mortgage Observer: You were named David Twardock’s successor about a year ago now. How has that transition been going?

David Durning: The transition has gone well. It’s been busy, fun, active. The organization that we had, Dave had been building for a while, and given Dave’s style, my fingerprints were on it as well, as were others, and so I have a terrific team. So in that sense, we haven’t missed a beat in anything that we’re doing. For me, the interesting part of the challenge and the opportunity that something like this provides is to tell the PMCC story both externally and internally along the way.

Read More

Mortgage Observer

Life Companies Are Back and Strategically Competing Against Big Banks. Here’s How.

Illustration by Thomas Pitilli.

It’s easy to see why life companies continue to plow money into commercial and multifamily real estate mortgages: They have provided strong returns, inflicted virtually no losses and match up perfectly with their long-term liabilities.

“Mortgages have proven to be really good, solid investments for life companies,” said Robert Merck, head of real estate investors for MetLife, the top life insurer in this space and the subject of a longer profile in this month’s Mortgage Observer. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Willy Walker Keeps His Bets on Fannie and Freddie While Preparing to Branch Out

Willy Walker, Chairman and CEO of Walker & Dunlop

Willy Walker, chairman and chief executive of what the Mortgage Bankers Association ranked 2012’s 10th largest commercial real estate lender and third largest multifamily lender, has yet to shy away from a race in his professional and personal lives. With heightened competition for multifamily among other areas of commercial real estate lending and continued talk of winding down the GSEs, that determination may prove helpful going forward. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Many Lenders Offering Low Rates for Multifamily


It seems like the perfect storm: investors are paying record prices to acquire residential rental apartments in metropolitan areas. And at the same time, financial institutions—especially regional and local commercial and savings banks—are offering the lowest rates for long-term financing for this asset class. Ramping up the competition, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, insurance companies, CMBS and conduits are all offering borrowers low rates, with terms we have not experienced in decades. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Fannie Mae Multifamily Head, Agency Vet Jeffery Hayward

Jeffery Hayward.

When on the road, Jeffery Hayward often carries a personally customized guide, with the addresses of all the multifamily buildings that Fannie Mae has financed in the area. Then the head of the government-sponsored enterprise’s Multifamily Mortgage Business drives from building to building.

“I want to see what we are financing,” Mr. Hayward told The Mortgage Observer recently, during a series of meetings in his Washington, D.C. office. “I have actually walked a lot of the properties that we financed—I know what they look like, I have seen the tenants.” Read More

the lead indicator

Can the Apartment Market Manage Without Fannie and Freddie?

chandan silo for web

The debate over housing finance reform has taken place largely behind closed doors, with public discourse limited to speculation. Since the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into effective insolvency in September 2008, the public has been shielded from serious discussion about their future. At least for the time being, weakness in the housing market has encouraged the status quo; policymakers have sidestepped the question of the government’s long-term role in shepherding homeownership outcomes. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Challenges at the Federal Housing Administration Were Forseen

With few exceptions, news on the housing front has been overwhelmingly positive in recent months. In spite of weak employment trends, historically low mortgage rates and the plodding but inexorable rebalancing of supply and demand have combined to lift sales volumes, prices and perceptions of a housing recovery.

But a rising tide does not relegate housing to a lower rung on the policy ladder. As conditions improve, policymakers will be obliged to address the long-term role of government in promoting specific housing outcomes. Since the government embarked on the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more than four years ago, the immediate goal of resuscitating the housing market has taken precedence over the larger question of how policy goals have supported—and undermined—the sustainability of the sector. Read More

Mortgage Beat

Berkeley Point Arranges $74.7 Million Fannie Mae Loan on Woodner Apartments in D.C.

3636 16th Street NW.

Berkeley Point Capital LLC has arranged the refinancing of the 1,072-unit Woodner Apartments in Upper Northwest Washington, D.C. The owner of the property, the Woodner Company, obtained a $74.7 million Fannie Mae loan.

“The loan proceeds will be used to pay off six existing coterminous loans that are due in June 2013 and to provide additional funds for upgrades to the property’s Art Deco-styled common areas,” a spokeswoman for Berkeley Point confirmed to The Mortgage Observer. Read More