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Shedding More Light on HUD’s Multifamily Borrower Forbearance (WEBCAST)

National  + Weekender  | 

It seemed straightforward enough in the initial announcement. With the passage of the CARES Act in late March, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would implement a nationwide relief plan for multifamily borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages.

Exactly what that plan looks like, though, has been subject to additional guidance from HUD, and is likely to receive further clarification in the coming weeks. Four days after HUD issued its latest guidance on the multifamily borrower forbearance program on March 13, Walker & Dunlop brought together—remotely—four in-house experts for a webcast delving into that guidance and expectations for doing business with HUD during the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic and economic shutdown.

Attendees of the “HUD Multifamily Housing – Highlights, Updates, and Insights” webcast heard insights from Walker & Dunlop SVPs Sheri Thompson, Stephanie Wiggins, Ken Buchanan and Corey Cooper. Among other themes sounded in the discussion, the panelists made it clear that just as the relief program is the response to a national emergency, so HUD itself has adapted quickly to the (temporary) new normal.

For example, whereas HUD customarily has expected closings to be completed in-person, in the current environment of social distancing it’s given the okay to conclude them via snail mail or electronically. Buchanan also noted that it’s now in the process of ramping up its technological capacity to be able to conduct site inspections remotely.

With all of the guidance these subject-matter experts were prepared to provide, webcast attendees still had plenty of nuts-and-bolts questions—more, in fact, than the panelists were able to address within the time constraints of the webcast.
They made it clear, though, that ongoing dialogue both with Walker & Dunlop and with lenders would be a given for the attendees.

Less clear at the moment is the longer-term impact the crisis and its economic fallout will have on renter demand. “Multifamily has been fairly well insulated from market dynamics over the past decade,” said Wiggins.

Partly that was because renting looked like an economically viable alternative for many would-be homeowners who couldn’t afford to buy. Now, Wiggins said, with some 22 million Americans having filed for unemployment in the past few weeks, there are concerns that a high rate of joblessness will adversely impact household formation. Offsetting that possibility, though, is the fact that new supply still can’t keep up with demand.

Replays of the April 17 webcast are available on-demand by clicking here.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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