While the dialogue about cutting down the role of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) is dominating conversation in the multifamily space, the industry’s growth isn’t slowing down for anyone to give a potential cutback a second thought.
The discussion about what a 10 percent reduction of the GSEs' role in the market isn’t having much of an impact of how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are doing business, said Paul Angle, Freddie Mac managing regional director, during the Apartment Finance Today Editorial Advisory Board and Leadership Roundtable at this week's AFT Live conference in Las Vegas.
Jeff Hayward, Fannie Mae’s head of multifamily, said the announcement doesn’t have the GSEs quivering in the background since they’re continuing with the momentum of record-breaking 2012 numbers. He said they will continue making the same kind of deals they’ve been working on as the pulse of the market grows stronger without focusing on what could happen.
“I don’t think anybody thinks we’re out of the woods,” he said. “We all understand that the policymakers will do what they’re going to do with us. Our job is to really put the companies in the best position in terms of continuing to earn money to pay the taxpayers back.”
Both Hayward and Angle agreed the first quarter this year has been a different market than before. Deals being financed through life companies, conduits, and banks are continuing to grow more intense and competitive, fueling a healthy market.
But as borrowers move forward to meet the growing demand for new starts, they tread lightly on financing with conduits as the wounds from the past are still stinging.
R. Lee Harris, president and CEO of Cohen-Esrey Real Estate Services, said his team is familiar in working with the conduits and there’s been a mixed response in financing a solid deal.
“Everything is different and needs a little tweak here and a little tweak there,” he said. “So that has been the issue in the past with the conduits. Whether or not there is more flexibility or more inclination to help with those tweaks going forward—it’s too soon to tell.”
However, even as the other lenders push into the multifamily space, the GSEs are satisfied to continue business as usual as there is enough liquidity to support healthy competition, Angle said.
“At the moment we’re not going to do anything drastic that will affect the market,” he said.