I read with great interest Paul Bradley’s recent article in MHProNews. I agree with Paul that there is an opportunity forthcoming to bring back a program that was created by Freddie Mac – one of the two (2) Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE’s) – in the early 2000’s. That program had Freddie providing conventional, residential home-only mortgage loans at market rates in selected Land Lease Communities where the residents had a long-term lease.
I was one of a very small group of professionals involved in the manufactured housing industry who worked directly with Feddie Mac to create that program. I know firsthand how well the program worked for residents in three (3) land lease communities that we owned when the program was active.
This was not a simple program to get out of the starting gate. It took well over two (2) years to draft the program, garner internal agency approvals, work through the idiosyncrasies, deal with legal and appraisal issues and partner with a lender to finally bring the program to the market. All of the work involved was not easy to accomplish, yet in the end the program became a reality. And, in my opinion, the program was a success.
People will question why the Freddie program was a success, even though it was not available for more than a few short years. There are many reasons why the program ultimately was cut short by Freddie Mac, but now is not the time to rehash those issues.
What is important is to look at the successes of the program. The template and performance are set for the GSE’s to use, so that time is saved. The success is proven by the number of performing, conventional long-term mortgage loans originated in land lease communities at then current market rates.
As stated above, our firm utilized this lending program in three communities. The home buyers were thrilled to have this loan option available. In fact, after we began to offer the program, rates dropped significantly. Almost every borrower refinanced their loan at a lower interest rate without any issues or penalties!
With complex programs come many questions and concerns. Let me focus on two important issues.
First, under the Freddie Mac program, the mortgages on the homes did not impact the underlining financing of the land lease community. This was a critical issue resolved early-on while we were drafting the program. Documentation was required and provided from the underlining land lease mortgage lender to Freddie Mac, assuring that the community lender would respect the long-term leases of the residents.
Secondly, there is no relationship between the Freddie Mac Program and the proposal by the Uniform Law Commission to title the manufactured homes as “real property.” Although there were various phrases and terminology utilized in the Freddie Mac program, there is zero connection to the ULC proposal, which is important, as the ULC plan gives current MH personal property lenders heartburn for a variety of reasons.
According to MHI and others, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) will soon issue a draft Duty to Serve rule. It could be a great opportunity for manufactured home lending if one of the recommendations suggests a lending program similar to the Freddie Mac pilot. Having another viable lending option would be a positive step in the market place.
I stand ready to work with the parties involved on this or any other lending option once the FHFA rules are known. Feel free to contact me, indicating your interest or support. ##
Richard J. “Rick” Rand
Great Value Homes, Inc.
9458 N. Fairway Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53217-1321