In certain ways, the Freddie Mac Multifamily business is similar to the Single-Family business. Both buy and securitize mortgages originated by a network of approved lenders; we do not lend money directly to borrowers. By selling mortgage loans to us, lenders receive money that they can use to make loans to additional borrowers. That, basically, is where the similarities end.

Multifamily financing is much more like commercial lending. Multifamily borrowers primarily are commercial entities, such as property developers, not individuals (homeowners). We only buy loans from around 30 or so commercial real estate lenders, many of whom do not make single-family loans.

For this reason, Multifamily’s loans are much larger than Single-family’s – typically, between $10 million and $50 million; however, they can range from $1 million to more than $1 billion. Our underwriting is not automated; Freddie Mac Multifamily staff complete the underwriting process and price mortgages before we buy them, including estimating future revenues from the properties.

  Multifamily Single-Family
Property size 5 or more units 1 to 4 units
Freddie Mac lenders About 30 Optigo® lenders More than 1,700
Loan size $1 million to $100s millions – no current limit Legislated limit of $548,250 ($822,375 in high-cost areas) for a 1-unit home
Underwriting process Manual – each loan is unique Typically automated
Number of parties involved Many, sometimes including government agencies One borrower
Source of mortgage payments Income from rents Borrower’s personal income
Servicing involvement Active in monitoring each loan’s performance Involved in a loan’s performance if it becomes delinquent


Freddie Mac finances all types of multifamily rental properties.

Garden-style: 1-, 2-, or 3-story apartment development built in a garden-like setting in a suburban, rural, or urban location; buildings may or may not have elevators

Walk-up: 4- to 6-story building without an elevator

Mid-rise: Multi-story building with an elevator, typically in an urban area

High-rise: Building with 9 or more floors and at least 1 elevator

Manufactured housing community: Community in which the operator leases ground sites to owners of manufactured homes

Special-purpose housing: Property of any style intended for a certain population segment

  • Seniors housing: Dedicated to housing older adults; includes independent and assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, and continuing care communities
  • Student housing: At least half of the units are intended for students attending a nearby learning institution
  • Subsidized housing: Caters to renters with low incomes or special needs and is made affordable by rent and income restrictions