Fannie Mae will give below-market-rate financing to multifamily borrowers who incorporate healthy design features in their newly constructed or rehabilitated buildings.

The first phase of the Healthy Housing Rewards initiative will give a pricing break to borrowers who incorporate design features that improve air quality and encourage physical activity, plus provide common space, community gardens and playgrounds.

"Incorporating healthy design features in affordable multifamily properties can have a big impact on residents — from increasing physical activity and social interaction to reducing environmental triggers for asthma," said Jeffery Hayward, Fannie Mae's executive vice president for multifamily, in a press release.

"When we strengthen the connection between affordable housing and the long-term health and stability of the people and families who live there, we help create more sustainable communities across the country."

Fannie Mae is using the Center for Active Design's Healthy Housing Index as part of the eligibility criteria for the program. The index consists of 45 evidence-based measures across eight categories. The property must score a minimum of 90 points to be qualified for the incentive.

In addition, at least 60% of the building's units must be for borrowers who earn no more than 60% of the average median income.

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