GSE multifamily holdings profitable amid third quarter losses

Concern over the third quarter losses posted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be obscuring the excellent performance of multifamily business lines in the government-sponsored enterprises' most recent reports.

Concern over the third quarter losses posted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be obscuring the excellent performance of multifamily business lines in the government-sponsored enterprises' most recent reports.

While Fannie Mae lost $5.1 billion and Freddie Mac $4.4 billion in the three-month period, those losses come from the single-family business the two enterprises run, and separating the multifamily side paints a very different picture.

The real estate data released in the report shows the multifamily divisions of the two GSEs are actually turning a profit and making money for taxpayers despite the outcry over their requests for further funding from the federal government.

This is due partly to a smaller amount of real estate-owned business and lower default rates, according to Multifamily Executive. The divisions have also maintained a focus on affordable housing far in excess of their single-family counterparts despite a smaller absolute size, MFE indicates.

Fannie Mae's multifamily division has fewer than 300 REO properties in inventory and a delinquency rate of 0.57 percent, compared to 4 percent delinquency for its single-family portfolio. While the GSE's single-family net income went from losses of $27 billion in 2010 to losing $19 billion in the first three quarters this year, multifamily income rose from $216 million to more than $405 million in the same period.

Between the two of them, the GSEs have almost 460,000 affordable multifamily housing units, a much larger percentage of their apartment portfolio than their single-family holdings can boast. According to MFE, the data may strengthen the case for separating the single-family and multifamily aspects of their business from each other when legislators formulate GSE policy.



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