David Stevens, a veteran mortgage executive focused on single-family housing, has been appointed head of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

The appointment, which requires Senate confirmation, comes at a time when the FHA’s single-family mortgage insurance and loan business is booming as other sources of liquidity recede. The number of single-family applications tripled last year, to 2.3 million, from 2007, and the FHA’s market share grew in every quarter last year, representing nearly a third of all new single-family loans in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The nomination “shows this administration’s commitment to moving this country out of the current housing crisis,” said Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan in a statement. “David’s depth of knowledge in real estate, housing, and the mortgage industry will help us transform not only the way HUD does business, but help to transform the housing market as the FHA’s market share continues to grow.”

Stevens is president and COO of Long & Foster Cos., one of the largest single-family real estate firms in the Mid-Atlantic. Before that, Stevens was national wholesale manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and vice president of Freddie Mac’s single-family business. He began his career with a 16-year stint at World Savings Bank. Stevens was also a founding sponsor of the Woman’s Mortgage Industry Network and coordinated Freddie Mac’s first joint venture with Latino mortgage industry leaders.

John Courson, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, applauded the move. “I have known and worked with Dave Stevens for better than 15 years and think he is an excellent choice to lead FHA when it is playing a more important role than ever,” said Courson in a statement.