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NMHC/NAA Commend Regulators for Advocating a Separate Multifamily Solution in Housing Finance Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       

Contact:  Jim Lapides, [email protected] or 202/974-2360

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2012 – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a strategic plan for the future of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac today. The following is a statement from the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) by Cindy Chetti, NMHC Senior Vice President of Government Affairs:

"We commend FHFA for recognizing that the GSEs’ multifamily programs are working well, were not part of the housing meltdown and require a separate solution from single-family housing finance reform. This is the first time a written housing finance proposal has explicitly called for a separate multifamily solution.

"FHFA’s plan is a critical step in the right direction and validates the work of the apartment industry in advocating for separating solutions for multifamily from single-family as we move forward in reforming our housing finance system.

"We would also encourage FHFA to pursue separate timetables for addressing the GSEs’ single-family and multifamily programs. The multifamily solution should be expedited and not held back while solutions to the far more complex single-family problems are sought.

"We look forward to reviewing the assessments called for by the FHFA plan to determine whether the GSEs multifamily programs can be operated on a stand-alone basis without government guarantees.

"Ultimately, we need to return to a housing finance system that is dominated by private capital.  Historically, however, even in healthy economic times the private sector has not been able to fully meet the capital needs of the apartment industry. Private capital generally flocks to top-tier markets and trophy properties. That’s exactly what is happening now. The new institutional capital coming in is concentrating in a handful of markets and on high-end assets, leaving vast amounts of the country out.

"The GSEs have been critical in ensuring that there is sufficient capital in all markets at all times, places like Indianapolis and Kansas City. Having liquidity nationwide is more important than ever as the nation relies increasingly on rental housing. Up to half of all new households created in the next decade could be renters—upwards of seven million new renter households.

"We look forward to working with both the regulators and Congress in their efforts to retain what works in the multifamily housing finance system and to ensure that reform efforts do not interrupt the critical flow of liquidity to rental housing."