80 percent. That's what each of the panelists on the "Then and Now" panel at the 2008 Multifamily Executive in Las Vegas said when asked how much apartment lending is being shouldered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
With the federal housing finance agency insisting that it will continue to support the multifamily business, look for the former government-sponsored entities to remain big drivers in the immediate future. "We think the deal flow has been good at both agencies," said Timothy L. White, president of PNC ARCS, who was joined by Charles Krawitz, managing director of KeyBank Real Estate Capital; Dan Smith, managing director of RBC Capital Markets; Byron Steenerson, president of Alliant Capital; and David Durning, senior managing director of Prudential Mortgage Capital Co.
It's a good thing Fannie and Freddie are still out there because there aren't many alternate sources of financing. At the top of the market, insurance companies will take the high-value, low-leverage deals. But the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) lenders and small banks have totally disappeared. "The markets have scared the smaller banks," Krawitz said.
Not everything is business as usual with Freddie and Fannie, either. As their CMBS competitors have melted away, the panelists insisted that the giants are more conservative today in their underwriting.
"Fannie wanted to be more conservative but the market wouldn't allow it," Steenerson said.
The 90 percent leveraging apartment borrowers used to enjoy is gone. Instead, lenders are capping leverage at around 75 percent to 80 percent with a 125 percent debt/service ratio. Interest-only loans generally only remain for buyers with lower leverage and longer deals. And, deals valued at under $50 million seem much more palatable for lenders right now. So, do transactions in primary markets. "It's more of a challenge and more conservative in slower markets," Durning added.
The preference is also for borrowers that have long-term stances. With buyers such as 1031 exchanges?which expect a quick return?leaving the market, mom-and-pop buyers are becoming the favored clients. They'll take more conservative, long-term views of rental properties, hoping to fund their retirement. "We're looking for someone with a long-term, vested stance," Steenerson said.