Sunday, September 7, 2008

S&P: Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac 'AAA/A-1+' Unsecured Ratings Affirmed; Preferred Stock Rating Cut

NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2008--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it affirmed its long-term 'AAA' and short-term 'A-1+' senior unsecured debt ratings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The outlook is stable.

At the same time, we lowered our risk-to-the-government standalone issuer credit ratings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to 'R' (regulatory supervision) from 'A-' and withdrew the ratings.

We have also revised the CreditWatch listing of the 'BBB+' subordinated debt ratings on these entities to positive from negative.

In addition, we lowered the preferred stock ratings to 'C' from 'BBB-' and removed the ratings from CreditWatch with negative implications.

The subordinated debt and preferred stock ratings were originally placed on CreditWatch Aug. 26, 2008.

These rating actions follow today's announcement by the U.S. Treasury that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been placed in conservatorship by their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

(Henry M. Paulson Jr., middle left photo, is Secretary of the Department of Treasury and also heads the Federal Housing Finance Agency.)

"Our affirmation of the long-term 'AAA' and short-term 'A-1+' senior unsecured debt ratings reflects the explicit government support under the terms of the conservatorship and Treasury's establishment of a preferred stock purchase agreement," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Victoria Wagner. (middle right photo)

We believe the government has now clearly reinforced its support of the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs).

The government's action underscores the importance it places on the GSEs, as well as its apparent belief that their mortgage franchises are viable and critical to the financing of the U.S. mortgage market and the overall economy.

We lowered and withdrew the risk-to-the-government ratings because of the conservatorship, with the FHFA acting as conservator with full control and oversight of the GSEs' businesses.

Under a conservatorship, the FHFA takes over the assets of and operates the GSEs with all of the powers of the shareholders, the directors, and the officers and conducts all business including authorizing the payment of valid obligations as outlined in the recently passed Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

The CreditWatch positive on the subordinated debt reflects our view that there is strong regulatory support for the continued timely payment of this debt.

(Federal Reserve Bank building, Washington, DC, middle left photo.)

If regulatory capital drops to a level that would breach regulatory minimum levels, we expect that the subordinated debt's interest deferral covenant will be waived, increasing the likelihood of timely payment.

Furthermore, there are no covenants restricting the payment of interest on the subordinated debentures while the preferred dividends are suspended.

We could raise the subordinated debt ratings once further information is available on the support that may be provided to Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's subordinated debtholders while the GSEs remain in conservatorship and post conservatorship.

Alternatively, upon final review of the status and support for subordinated debt payments, we could affirm these ratings.

The CreditWatch listing of the subordinated debt will be resolved upon review of the final terms of support outlined in Treasury's backstop plan for the GSEs.

The downgrade of the preferred stock ratings reflects FHFA's announcement that dividends on the preferred stock are being eliminated in view of the GSEs' weak near-term earnings prospects and the need to preserve capital.


Standard & Poor's Ratings Services will hold a teleconference call on Monday, Sept. 8, 2008, at 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight time to discuss these rating actions and the related rationale.

The live call-in numbers are:

1-210-839-8781 (toll U.S.);

1-888-282-0378 (toll-free for U.S. and Canada);

44-20-7108-6390 (toll U.K.) and

0-800-279-9630 (toll-free U.K.).

The conference ID# is 6625004, and the

Passcode is SANDP.

Media Contact:
Jeff Sexton, New York, (1) 212-438-3448
Analyst Contacts:

Victoria Wagner, New York (1) 212-438-7406
Daniel E Teclaw, New York (1) 212-438-8716
Xavier Chavee, New York (1) 212-438-6834
Scott Bugie, Hong Kong (852) 2533-3513

Las Vegas Sands and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Sign Contract to Open First St. Regis Residences in Las Vegas

St. Regis Residences to Join Venetian and Palazzo Offering Superior Design and Bespoke Service on the Famed Las Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS, NV--Las Vegas Sands Corp. has reached an agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. to develop The St. Regis Residences (top right photo) at the Venetian Palazzo,(bottom left photo) Las Vegas, a collection of 398 private luxury residences, introducing the renowned St. Regis brand to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The residential project is currently under construction between Las Vegas Sands' Palazzo and Venetian resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

"The St. Regis name is synonymous with luxury and when it is combined with preferred access to the world-class amenities of The Venetian and The Palazzo, there is little doubt that this residential product is one of the most compelling and exciting in the world," said Sheldon G. Adelson, (top left photo) chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

"Those fortunate enough to purchase at The St. Regis Residences will have the rare opportunity to own a residence that is part of two world-class resorts in the heart of one of the most famous streets in the world."

"We are delighted to introduce the St. Regis brand to Las Vegas, and what a spectacular debut it will be," said Frits van Paasschen, (middle right photo) president and chief executive officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "With a premiere location, excellent partner and a shared vision to create the most luxurious residences, amenities and services in Las Vegas, this truly is a one of a kind endeavor."

(Bottom left photo, the $1.9 billion, 3,068-room Palazzo resort, tallest hotel in Vegas at 642 feet, opened Dec. 30, 2007 with 105,000 sf of gaming space. Owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp.)

Anticipated to open in March 2010, the St. Regis Residences(R) will offer owners the famed hallmarks of the St. Regis brand including, the Signature St. Regis Butler Service, custom tailored experiences, and luxury accommodations in the best addresses in the world.

The team responsible for the sales and marketing of the residences has already begun receiving interest from all over the world, and will begin accepting VIP reservations this month and open a preview gallery in October. For more information, please visit

CONTACT: Daniella Weinberg, United States - Phone: +1 212-380-4005, Email:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., 1111 Westchester Ave. Phone: 914-640-8100 Fax: 914-696-1138

Tamarac Apartments in Cleveland Suburb Listed for $48.5M

WILLOUGHBY, OH – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has retained the exclusive listing for Tamarac Apartments, (top right photo) a 642-unit multi-family community in Willoughby, a suburb of Cleveland.

The listing price of $48.5 million represents $75,545 per unit and a 7.6 percent cap rate.

Michael S. Barron, an associate vice president investments and director of Marcus & Millichap’s National Multi Housing Group (NMHG) in Cleveland, and Dan Burkons, a senior associate and director of the firm’s NMHG in Cleveland, are representing the seller, a Cleveland-based entity. (Downtown Willoughby photo at left)

“Tamarac Apartments is an excellent opportunity for an investor to acquire a very large, well-maintained, well-located asset that provides a solid foothold in a major Midwestern MSA,” says Barron.

“Consistently stellar occupancy coupled with continued rent increases makes Tamarac Apartments an appealing option for an investor seeking income growth in a cash flow-driven market,” adds Burkons.

“The community was constructed in various phases between 1990 and 2000 and is still owned and operated by the original developers.”

Located at 38360 Tamarac Blvd., the 682,340-square foot apartment community is situated on 52-plus acres, within close proximity to Lake Erie and easy access via freeway to employment and entertainment centers.

Tamarac Apartments boasts a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. Amenities include private patios and balconies, fireplaces, ceiling fans, in-suite laundry hook-ups and walk-in closets.

Press Contact: Stacey Corso,
Communications Department,
(925) 953-1716

Catalina Village Apartments in Houston Listing Goes to Marcus & Millichap

HOUSTON, TX – Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has retained the exclusive listing for Catalina Village Apartments (top right photo), a 288-unit multi-family community in Houston.

Mark C. Hendricks, a senior associate and associate director of Marcus & Millichap’s National Multi Housing Group in Houston, is representing the seller.

“Catalina Village Apartments is an excellent opportunity to acquire a quality Class B multi-family community with a solid income and future upside in continued rental- rate growth along the Highway 288/Almeda corridor. In addition, Houston’s economy continues to remain vibrant,” says Hendricks.

Located at 3560 Dixie Road, the 334,800-square foot gated apartment community consists of 22 three-story buildings situated on 10.37 acres, just minutes from the ever-expanding Texas Medical Center, Midtown, University of Houston Main Campus and downtown Houston.

Built in 2003, Catalina Villages Apartments features a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. Interior amenities include wall-to-wall carpeting, energy efficient Whirlpool appliance packages, breakfast nook with bay windows, individual hot water heaters, well-appointed kitchens, mini-blinds, ceiling fans in every bedroom, pre-wired cable and second phone line, and large utility rooms with built-in shelving.

Press Contact: Stacey Corso,
Communications Department,
(925) 953-1716

Marcus & Millichap Lists Prime Waterfront Development in Seal Beach, CA for $26.5M

SEAL BEACH, CA– Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the nation’s largest real estate investment services firm, has retained the exclusive listing for 10.71 acres of waterfront property in Seal Beach. The listing price is $26.5 million.

Paul A. Bitonti (top right photo) and Jack Hopkins, both vice president investments in the Newport Beach office of Marcus & Millichap, are representing the seller, a group of private investors.

“This vacant land containing, which contains three contiguous parcels and nearly 800 feet of water frontage, represents the largest waterfront property remaining in the Greater Southern California area,” says Bitonti.

Located at the southwest corner of Marina Drive and First Street, the property is near the main beach and pier and walking distance to restaurants and shopping.

Development possibilities for the property include a hotel, high-end luxury homes, multi-family communities and visitor-serving open-space use.

Press Contact: Stacey Corso, Communications Department, (925) 953-1716