Fannie Mae offers rewards for health and wellness programs

A reduced borrowing rate to owners of multifamily homes who implement programs such as health and fitness, daycare or job training

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Fannie Mae on Wednesday announced a new program designed to reward multifamily property owners who provide programs including daycare, health and wellness initiatives, and job training to tenants of affordable housing complexes. 

Fannie Mae’s new Enhanced Resident Services program promises savings for multifamily borrowers in the form of lower borrowing rates, saving between $15,000 and $75,000 annually.

To participate in the program–which is part of the Healthy Housing Rewards initiative that Fannie Mae launched in May of last year–multifamily borrowers will need to be sure that at least 60 percent of their units are occupied by tenants making 60 percent or less of the average median income.

Fannie Mae also notes that the amenities that would be eligible for lowering borrowing rates include “services that address the needs of renters and support health and wellness programs, day care, food access, youth and education programming, and job training.” 

“We believe that the strength of an affordable rental housing property is directly linked to the health and stability of the people and families who live there,” Bob Simpson, vice president of Fanny Mae’s Affordable and Green Financing unit, said in a statement. “Affordable borrowers have recognized the value of providing enhanced resident services at their properties for years, but have been constrained by the inability to ensure a long-term source of financial support.”

Currently, overall inventory for existing single-family homes and multi-family homes stands at 1.67 million, according to November data provided by the National Association of Realtors. With inventory historically low across the United States, real estate professionals have said that bouncing back to a 50-year average of 1.5 million new units remains difficult.

According to a Redfin housing market forecast, small increases in inventory at the high-end of the market are expected by year-end, but starter-home inventory, which has not increased meaningfully since 2011, will continue to stagnate in the new year.

“We’re just not building right—we’re doing it wrong,” Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, told Inman in December. “Not enough, for sure, but it’s also kind of been misplaced and mispriced. We built up high-end homes in big cities and that works for highly paid millennials — and every city has them — but what we need now are starter homes for starter families, and we’re not seeing that kind of building. We’re not seeing building near transit and we’re not seeing building at the price points that people need and can afford.”

Email Jotham Sederstrom