Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director
Success! In response to seeking Fannie Mae support of cohousing, Fannie Mae has included specific language in its online FAQ’s to clarify that they will do loans on cohousing homes. While it is a relatively small step in the larger scheme of things, it is a big step for cohousing to be formally recognized by Fannie Mae, the entity that sets the standards for home mortgages across the country. In addition, we now have a relationship with Fannie Mae.
This could only happen with a national effort lead by Coho/US, supported by more than two dozen people and organizations that contributed letters of support. We are particularly thankful to the members of the Association’s Cohousing Finance Work Group, which includes our sister affiliate, the Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing, and Katie McCamant of CoHousing Solutions who lead this effort.
Visit our resource on the Coho/US website Fannie Mae Language Supporting Loans for Cohousing Homes. We plan to expand this information so that cohousing communities and their buyers have easy access to this information and more when they come across a reluctant lender.
Katie McCamant had this experience - yet again - when she was shopping a cohousing construction loan and came across a lender that was convinced they couldn’t get Fannie Mae loans, and thus could not lend on cohousing. It took that lender nearly three months to get clear with their Fannie Mae contact that being a cohousing neighborhood was not a problem. Now, if you run across this, you can just send them the link.
We will also be sharing this information with the press and specifically the banking and mortgage world. We will also be using our success with Fannie Mae to encourage FHA to do the same.
We greatly appreciate your support on this effort. Please let us know as you come across other issues that would be best addressed on the national level. We are, after all, your Cohousing Association.