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Walker & Dunlop's $220M acquisition of CWCapital to create the second-largest multifamily lender in the US is more than a really, really big deal. Yesterday, CEO Willy Walker told us it's the culmination of a journey started in the depths of the recession to invest in agency business. (And it's also a really, really big deal.)
Willy Walker
Why make multifamily your mainstay? "There is no other real estate asset class with the same concentration of capital," says Willy (above, signing the purchase agreement). Freddie, Fannie, and FHA control more than 55% of apartment loan originations, a fact that will allow the combined firm to capture a "huge amount of deal flow." And an impending tide of maturities bodes well for the near term: Multifamily forms a significant portion of the $1.9 trillion in commercial real estate assets due for refinancing by 2017.The pair of companies originated $7.7B last year.
Reznick (Client) MBALT
Willy Walker, NYSE, Dec. 15, 2010
The CWCapital deal has its roots in Walker & Dunlop's '09 acquisition of Credit Suisse subsidiary Column Guaranteed. "That turned out to be a fantastic acquisition, and it played a key role in going public," says Willy (above on the NYSE floor on Dec. 15, 2010). "Now that we have the resources of a public company, we're going to take advantage of it." (We said the same thing after the Facebook IPO, and our ability to waste time has never been greater.) The deal adds new markets like Boston, Princeton, and Vancouver and will trigger possible consolidations in Atlanta, Dallas, and San Francisco.
Bisnow (Schmooza) MBALT