In September, Fannie Mae published new changes to their Green Financing program that further entice borrowers to utilize their green lending products. Fannie Mae has committed to paying for the ASHRAE Level II study required as part of the energy and water efficiency analysis for loans made through their green initiative. As mentioned on the Fannie Mae Multifamily Green Financing webpage, Fannie Mae will reimburse borrowers 100 percent of the cost of the assessment used for the approved loan.
Other key revisions
Another significant enhancement made to the Green Rewards product offering now allows for 75 percent of owner-paid savings and 25 percent of tenant projected cost savings to be underwritten compared to the formulaic computation that allowed up to 50 percent for owner- and tenant-paid savings that was available before this latest change.
Prior to the changes, benchmarking for the High Performance Building Module (HPB) required the collection of utility bills from 10 percent of the tenants if the property wasn’t mastered metered. Now, tenant utility bill collection is only required if the borrower wants to underwrite tenant projected cost savings. This change makes it easier for acquisition deals that are typically under a tight due diligence period to qualify for the Green Rewards. No change has been made to the annual ENERGY STAR® Score reporting requirement using 10 percent tenant utility data after the energy and water efficiency work has been implemented.
Fannie Mae’s full suite of Green Financing products now includes Green Rewards, Green Building Certification Pricing Break, Green Preservation Plus, and a new offering known as Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) consent. By re-evaluating and enhancing their product lines, Fannie Mae is tailoring its programs to meet the needs of, and further attract, owners of multifamily properties to invest in strategic green improvements.
The rise of multifamily green financing
HUD and Freddie Mac are also offering green lending options making green lending competitive within the multifamily market. As agencies continue to update and enhance their offerings, borrowers now have more options to choose from that best meet their needs. Fannie Mae, HUD, and Freddie Mac provide lending to over 50 percent of the multifamily market, making green lending a significant game changer.
Indeed, Fannie Mae’s latest announcement adds further momentum to the argument for improving a property’s energy- and water-efficiency. By offering the reimbursement, borrowers of these properties can now take advantage of lower interest rates and additional loan proceeds at an even lower upfront cost. Beyond this, efficiently operated properties may yield financial benefits through lower operating and utility costs, improved tenant satisfaction, and increased property values.
As the momentum for green lending increases, it’s important for borrowers, lenders, and anyone involved in the acquisition or re-financing of a multifamily property to stay up-to-date on available programs. These programs are dynamic, so understanding the specifics and being aware of any readjustments will allow borrowers to best benefit from the attractive financial advantages they offer.