Walker Dunlop has been approved as a seller and servicer under Freddie Mac’s Affordable Single-Family Rental pilot program, allowing the Bethesda, Md.-based company to focus on middle markets with an average loan size between $10 million and $25 million.
Freddie’s SFR program plans to provide additional financing options for both workforce and affordable rental housing in one-to-four unit buildings.
“We are thrilled to partner with Freddie Mac to increase the availability of affordable rental housing for America’s working families,” Willy Walker, chairman and CEO of Walker Dunlop, said in a press release.
“Walker Dunlop has expertise in single-family rental lending, and we look forward to offering our customers best-in-class execution of the program and further enhancing our offering in the SFR space.”
The single-family rental market has been the fastest growing sector of housing since the financial crisis. About 35% of the nation’s 44 million rental units are single-family rentals, up from 31% in 2006. The majority of renters live in dwellings with less than four units.
As a shortage of home supply continues to plague the real estate market, home prices will continue rising, making low-cost housing especially important. Evolving demographics and household preferences will also drive growth in the single-family rental space as more homebuyers seek affordable ways to live comfortably, according to Walker Dunlop.
Freddie Mac plans to approach this growing market by offering a competitive alternative to owners and investors of SFRs; the financing option supports more leverage, increased loan consolidation, longer-term loans, fixed rates and nonrecourse loans, according to the government-sponsored enterprise.
Walker Dunlop is one of nine firms currently approved for the pilot.