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Walker & Dunlop announce Metro Fund partnership

Will fuel expansion into South Florida

Walker & Dunlop Inc., one of the largest capital providers in the CRE industy, today announced a new preferred correspondent agreement with Miami-based lender Metro Fund Inc., according to a press release.

The firm says the agreement represents an equal partnership, which is intended to expand Walker & Dunlop’s reach in South Florida through Metro Fund’s local relationships and track record of financing.

It says it also will enable Metro Fund to leverage Walker & Dunlop’s brand, experience and technology to originate loans through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the capital markets in order to increase overall lending capabilities.

“Our partnership with Metro Fund Inc. represents an opportunity for both companies to grow our operations. Bringing together Metro Fund’s deep relationships, especially in South Florida’s Latino community, and Walker & Dunlop’s industry-leading expertise in CRE lending will lead to more favorable financing options and better deals for our clients,” stated Howard Smith, Walker & Dunlop president.

Walker & Dunlop originated $49 billion in transactions and financed over $42 billion in multifamily properties in 2021, highlighting the strong presence the firm holds in the CRE (commercial real estate) industry. The organization’s brokered loan originations also totaled $30 billion, a 170% increase over 2020, according to the release.

While Walker & Dunlop posted a profitable 2021, it remains to be seen how the company is faring this year. A recent Wall Street Journal report showed that due to rising interest rates, deals have already begun collapsing across the U.S., with CRE showing its first signs of cooling in more than a year.

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The report found that CRE property sales stood at $39.4 billion in April, a 16% decrease compared to the same month a year ago, according to MSCI Real Assets. That decline followed 13 consecutive months of increases in the sector, following a decline during the pandemic, with a rebound in late 2020 increasing demand for multifamily and industrial properties through 2021 and early 2022.

The 16% decline also stands in stark contrast with March’s numbers, which saw commercial property sales rise 57% from February 2022.

“The speed of that transition is shocking,” said Jim Costello, chief economist at MSCI Real Assets, also telling the WSJ sales drops could be an early indicator of stress in real-estate markets.

Founded in 2014, Metro Fund is a Hispanic-owned business aimed at providing capital for both residential and commercial markets via institutional lenders and private capital. It says this partnership with Walker & Dunlop will help South Florida’s construction and commercial markets to “flourish”, despite the sudden struggles in the CRE market.

“Partnering with Walker & Dunlop, the third largest provider of CRE capital in the U.S., will bring marketing and production support, along with a host of new multifamily and commercial lending options to our established builder and investor clientele,” stated Orlando Diaz, President of Metro Fund Inc., in the release.

In other recent proptech news, Archistar raised A$11M in funding and announced its first acquisition of Snaploader to spur upcoming U.S. expansion. EasyKnock and Marketplace Homes also partnered to merge the sale-leaseback model with new construction.

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