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Demand for rentals puts multifamily lender in sweet spot

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Hardly a week passes without Walker & Dunlop Real Estate Financing (WD) announcing yet another successful refinancing of an apartment complex, or two, or three. The reason, the multifamily lender states, is its preferred lender status with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mixed with strong rental demand and high levels of available liquidity. Indeed, the firm is expecting more company in the multifamily space, as the rate of homeownership in America keeps slipping away. "Our business in the multifamily sector is doing really well. The asset class held up well during the downturn," said Drew Anderman who heads up multifamily finance at Walker & Dunlop. "We had a loan origination volume of about $3.2 billion last year, and we intend to beat that in 2011." It's not an unreasonable expectation judging by the successful refinancings in the Walker & Dunlop newsfeed (see below). The success isn't exclusive to Walker & Dunlop. Fannie and Freddie both show a clear commitment to strong players in the space, Anderman added. Indeed, Fannie Mae expanded its multifamily mortgage-backed structured finance product availability Monday, in a sign of growing demand for such products. "We are bracing for more competition, at least a lot more than what we had in 2010 and 2009," adds Anderman. Write to Jacob Gaffney. Follow him on Twitter @JacobGaffney. The author holds no relative investments.

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