Owners and buyers of multifamily housing are experiencing sticker shock when they refinance, sell or purchase properties. Insurance premiums have jumped as much as 25% because of the broadened insurance requirements set forth by lenders.
GlobeSt.com caught up with Ryan Cassidy and Evan Seacat, both senior directors at Franklin Street Insurance Services, for a deeper understanding of why lenders have changed their standards and what owners and buyers can expect in part one of this exclusive interview. Stay tuned or part two, in which the duo will discuss how changing lender practices have impacted the market.
GlobeSt.com: What caused originators and buyers of multifamily mortgages to change insurance requirements on multifamily properties?
Cassidy: They were caught by surprise just as much as the rest of us by events of the past decade. Their overall requirements have become stricter, causing panic from multifamily owners.
The government-sponsored enterprise also will not accept into its network multifamily properties with policies that limit or exclude from coverage natural causes of damages such as flood, hail, hurricanes and wind. Loss of rental income as a result of the before mentioned perils has become one of the most sought after coverages. The cost to add this specific item is one of the most expensive for owners. Freddie Mac has similar requirements.
GlobeSt.com: Aren’t those kinds of coverages to be expected even though we have not had a major terrorist attack like 9/11 or a hurricane like Wilma in more than a decade?
Seacat: First, owners are having trouble finding standard policies that include these provisions, for a reasonable price. On top of the overall expense for the added coverage, this can be a very time-consuming exercise. Therefore, national and local proprietary programs are becoming more common and the level of interest has risen for property owners.
GlobeSt.com: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the biggest financers of multifamily housing. But there must be alternatives.
Cassidy: Yes, but we have found that lenders providing financing for private portfolios are adopting similar rules, giving owners and buyers fewer ways to avoid the requirements. And most banks are making it harder to meet the insurance requirements.