What You Need to Know About Freddie Mac SBL Multifamily Loans

Freddie Mac is one of the biggest sources of multifamily loans in the country. In October 2014, they announced the addition of their Small Balance Program (SBL) apartment financing. The SBL program finances loans between $1 million and $7.5 million (although in the commercial real estate world “small loans” can often refer to loans under $15 million). Freddie Mac purchases loans from lenders and securitizes pools of over $400 million. Since their inception, they have funded over 10,385 loans totaling over $27 billion in volume. This blog post will introduce you to some of the basic criteria, details and highlights of the Freddie Mac SBL program.

Freddie Mac Apartment Loan Highlights:


Freddie Mac SBL offers multiple different loan term options. You can pursue a standard 5, 7 or 10 year fixed rate balloon mortgage. Additionally, they offer 20 year hybrid products with an initial fixed period of 5,7 or 10 years followed by six-month floating-rate reset periods based on the LIBOR. They offer partial or full term interest only periods as well.


The SBL program offers amortization periods of up to 30 years.

Interest Rates:

While interest rates vary across properties, locations and loan amounts, they tend to be lower for apartment buildings in Top and Standard Markets and higher for those in Small and Very Small Markets

Market Tiers:

  • Top Markets: These include many counties within the following MSA’s: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Stamford and Washington D.C.
  • Standard Markets: These typically include markets with a rental population of greater than 60,000 people.
  • Small Markets: These usually include markets with rental populations between 30,000 and 60,000 people.
  • Very Small Markets: These include markets with rental population of under 30,000 people.


Freddie Mac SBL will finance up of 80% LTV of the property. Additionally, their loans are subject to a minimum DSCR of 1.25x for Standard Markets and 1.20x for Top Markets. Their full-term interest-only loans are subject to a maximum LTV of 65% and a minimum DSCR of 1.35x.  


The Freddie Mac SBL lends to Limited liability companies, Limited partnerships, Single asset entities, Special purpose entities, Tenancy in common, Corporations, Multiple asset entities, Trusts with a warm body guarantor and Individuals who are U.S. citizens.

Underwriting Guidelines:

  • Effective gross income is calculated based on either trailing three-months of actual rent collections or by annualizing the current rent roll. A 5% vacancy rate is utilized subject to current market data.
  • Typically, operating expenses are calculated based on the T-12 statement.
  • Property values will ultimately be based on the third-party appraisal.
  • A sum of $200-$300 per unit will be escrowed for replacement reserves range. This number is based on the property condition rating and the observations from the property inspection.
  • For loans over 65% LTV, tax escrows are required.

Prepayment Penalties:

Prepayment on Freddie Mac SBL loans vary by term but both yield maintenance and step-down are offered.

Property Type:

The SBL program will finance multifamily properties with 5 or more units. They accept section 8 vouchers/ tax abatements and properties may include commercial income. They will not finance seniors housing, student housing (if the student occupancy is over 50% of the tenant base) and properties with land use restriction agreements or low-income housing tax credit. While there are many options for those looking for apartment loans, the Freddie Mac SBL program can often provide some of the best terms in the market. If you are looking for a freddie mac multifamily loan. commercial mortgage or an apartment loan and want to know if the Freddie Mac SBL program is right for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Select Commercial Funding. You can reach us at 516-596-8937 or 516-596-8297. For a quick quote, click the button below! Get a free loan quote today!