Freddie Mac adds Mark Grier to its board of directors


Freddie Mac has announced that Mark B. Grier has been elected to its board of directors.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Grier served as the vice-chairman and a member of the board of directors of Prudential Financial, leading up to his retirement in 2019.

Grier joined Prudential in 1995 as chief financial officer before being named office of the chairman in 2002 and as vice-chairman in 2007.

In late 2011, Grier led the $3 billion initial public offering of Prudential Financial, which was one of the largest IPOs in history at the time.

“Mark Grier brings more than 40 years of finance, risk, and market experience to Freddie Mac,” said Sara Mathew, non-executive chair of Freddie Mac’s board of directors. “His deep expertise in capital management will benefit the Board as we guide Freddie Mac through the next chapter of its corporate life.”

Other positions Grier has held include various positions at Chase Manhattan Corporation and its predecessor from 1978 to 1995, including executive vice president, global risk management and executive vice president, co-head of global markets.

Grier is also chair of Achieve and the Global Impact Investing Network and is a Trustee of Eisenhower Fellow and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Grier received his bachelor’s degree and a master’s in economics from Eastern Illinois University, and another MBA in finance and corporate accounting from the University of Rochester.

This announcement comes after the GSE named Donna Corley its head of single-family business, as David Lowman stepped down in October.



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Record number of renters believe renting is more affordable than owning


A recent report from CoreLogic showed that home prices increased 4% year over year in December, and projected the U.S. price index will rise by 5.2% by December 2020.

As home prices continue to rise nationally, it’s little wonder that Freddie Mac’s latest “Profile of Today’s Renter and Owner” found that the majority of current renters believe renting is more affordable than owning.

However, the percentage of renters who hold that belief has increased dramatically in the past year.

A whopping 84% of renters said they believe renting is more affordable than owning – an all-time high for the survey. For comparison, this number is up 17 percentage points from February 2018.

The survey also found that affordability issues affect the average renter more than a homeowner. Freddie Mac said there are 42% of renters who paid more than a third of their household income on rent.

This is compared to only 24% of homeowners who spend that amount on mortgage payments.

But there is good news for renters looking to own. Given current low interest rates, 40% of renters said they plan to purchase a home.

“The housing market is strong and, based on our survey, the low mortgage rate environment may inspire both renters and owners to make an educated move this spring,” said David Brickman, Freddie Mac CEO. “While Baby Boomers tend to be satisfied with their current housing situation, younger generations are still struggling to determine whether to rent or purchase a home, largely due to lack of supply and affordability constraints.”

And that lack of supply stretches beyond single-family housing. Last year saw record-high occupancy rates in multifamily housing with a shortage of supply. Naturally, this drove rent growth. Many of the renters surveyed by Freddie Mac voiced their worry in this area.

Almost 70% of renters said they are growing more concerned about their rent going up in the next 12 months, while 68% are concerned about not being able to afford their larger expenses. Even so, according to the majority surveyed, renting is still the more affordable option.



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