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Perspectives
May 23, 2017

Helping Deserving but Underserved Markets

David Brickman and Dave Lowman
By
David Brickman, EVP Multifamily Business
Dave Lowman, EVP Single-Family Business

As many as 12 million U.S. households devote more than 50 percent of their annual income to housing, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As house prices and rents continue to rise, the demand for affordable and workforce housing increases as well. While the challenges are numerous and complex, Freddie Mac is committed to collaborating with the mortgage industry and other stakeholders to provide more affordable rental and homeownership opportunities.

On May 8, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published our proposed Duty to Serve Underserved Markets plan – an extensive proposal that we believe will increase housing opportunities for families in rural areas and for first-time homebuyers through manufactured housing. It also will help to preserve more affordable housing throughout the country.

Our three-year Duty to Serve proposal aims to build on our long-standing efforts to stabilize and grow the nation’s supply of rental and single-family housing for American families. Last year, for example, about 90 percent of the $56.8 billion financed by our multifamily business supported working families earning at or below 100 percent of their area median incomes. We also financed nearly 1.7 million single-family mortgages and made home possible for 268,000 first-time homebuyers.

These are significant numbers but affordable housing gaps across the country continue to overwhelm individuals, families and communities. We’re in the process of developing innovative, creative solutions for these hard-to-reach markets. We intend to focus on expanded loan purchases and investments in these markets as well as new offerings, original research, technical skill-building for industry participants, increased consumer education, community engagement and local outreach.

But we can’t do this alone. Collaboration will be the cornerstone of our efforts. We intend to work with new and existing customers plus a wide range of public and private organizations that know these areas well. And that, in turn, requires thoughtful public and industry input to be sure we’re approaching them in ways that are practical and efficient.

We believe that, over time, we can bring liquidity, stability and affordability to these underserved – but deserving – markets. Our ultimate goal is clear: We want to help more American families with their housing needs by developing and standardizing highly effective solutions to some of society’s most persistent housing problems.

We encourage you to read our Duty to Serve plan and submit comments by July 10 to FHFA.

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