Fannie Mae invested $35.5 billion in multifamily housing in 2008.

But its total multifamily investments last year fell by almost half compared with the total $60 billion Fannie Mae invested in 2007, largely because of the collapse of the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).

Fannie Mae’s Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS) lenders and their partners were responsible for a total $33.3 billion of the agency’s multifamily investment in 2008. That’s up from $30.3 billion in 2007.

The rest of Fannie Mae’s multifamily investments in 2008, $2.2 billion, went into buying CMBS and loans from non-DUS lenders. That’s less than a tenth of the $29.7 billion Fannie Mae put into those types of investments in 2007.

“Fannie Mae and its DUS lenders were pleased to provide significant liquidity and stability to the multifamily industry despite record levels of uncertainty and volatility,” says Phil Weber, senior vice president of multifamily for Fannie Mae. 

A top priority for Fannie Mae Multifamily in 2009 will be to reinvigorate its mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and DUS business and broaden the investor base for the bonds backed by these loans, according to Fannie Mae officials. By ramping up its MBS/DUS execution, Fannie Mae Multifamily expects to shift from being primarily a multifamily portfolio lender to a lender that provides liquidity to the multifamily market mainly through MBS issuance. The company has started to reach out to DUS lenders and broker dealers to increase interest in this type of execution.

Fannie also is striving to meet its mission to help provide affordable housing. Nearly all of the multifamily units financed by Fannie Mae in 2008, approximately 89 percent, were affordable to families at or below the median income of their communities.

More than half, approximately 54 percent, of all multifamily units financed by Fannie Mae were affordable housing properties with apartments reserved for low- and very low-income families. Also, more than half, nearly 58 percent, of the multifamily units financed were in underserved markets.