Press Release

DBRS Morningstar Finalizes Provisional Ratings on Freddie Mac STACR REMIC Trust 2023-HQA1

May 22, 2023

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS Morningstar) finalized the following provisional ratings on the Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) REMIC 2023-HQA1 Notes (the Notes) issued by Freddie Mac STACR REMIC Trust 2023-HQA1 (STACR 2023-HQA1):

-- $127.0 million Class M-1A at A (low) (sf)
-- $127.0 million Class M-1B at BBB (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2A at BBB (low) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2B at BB (high) (sf)
-- $63.0 million Class M-2 at BB (high) (sf)
-- $63.0 million Class M-2R at BB (high) (sf)
-- $63.0 million Class M-2S at BB (high) (sf)
-- $63.0 million Class M-2T at BB (high) (sf)
-- $63.0 million Class M-2U at BB (high) (sf)
-- $63.0 million Class M-2I at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2AR at BBB (low) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2AS at BBB (low) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2AT at BBB (low) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2AU at BBB (low) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2AI at BBB (low) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2BR at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2BS at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2BT at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2BU at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2BI at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2RB at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2SB at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2TB at BB (high) (sf)
-- $31.5 million Class M-2UB at BB (high) (sf)

Classes M-2, M-2R, M-2S, M-2T, M-2U, M-2I, M-2AR, M-2AS, M-2AT, M-2AU, M-2AI, M-2BR, M-2BS, M-2BT, M-2BU, M-2BI, M-2RB, M-2SB, M-2TB, and M-2UB are Modifiable and Combinable STACR Notes (MACR Notes). Classes M-2I, M-2AI, and M-2BI are interest-only MACR Notes.

The A (low) (sf), BBB (sf), BBB (low) (sf), and BB (high) (sf) ratings reflect 3.000%, 2.000%, 1.750%, and 1.500% of credit enhancement, respectively. Other than the specified classes above, DBRS Morningstar does not rate any other classes in this transaction.

STACR 2023-HQA1 is the 28th transaction in the STACR HQA series. The Notes are subject to the credit and principal payment risk of a certain reference pool (the Reference Pool) of residential mortgage loans held in various Freddie Mac-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities (MBS). As of the Cut-Off Date, the Reference Pool consists of 37,756 greater-than-20-year fully amortizing first-lien fixed-rate mortgage loans underwritten to a full documentation standard, with original loan-to-value (LTV) ratios greater than 80%. The mortgage loans were acquired on or after January 1, 2022 and were securitized by Freddie Mac between January 1, 2022 and January 31, 2022.

On the Closing Date, the trust will enter into a Collateral Administration Agreement (CAA) with Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac, as the credit protection buyer, will be required to make transfer amount payments. The trust is expected to use the aggregate proceeds realized from the sale of the Notes to purchase certain eligible investments to be held in a custodian account. The eligible investments are restricted to highly rated, short-term investments. Cash flow from the Reference Pool will not be used to make any payments; instead, a portion of the eligible investments held in the custodian account will be liquidated to make principal payments to the Noteholders and return amounts, if any, to Freddie Mac upon the occurrence of certain specified credit events and modification events.

The coupon rates for the Notes are based on the 30-Day average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). There are replacement provisions in place in the event that SOFR is no longer available, please see the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) for more details. DBRS Morningstar did not run interest rate stresses for this transaction, as the interest is not linked to the performance of the reference obligations (the Reference Obligations). Instead, the trust will use the net investment earnings on the eligible investments together with Freddie Mac’s transfer amount payments to pay interest to the Noteholders.

In this transaction, approximately 1.2% of the loans were originated using property values determined by using Freddie Mac's automated collateral evaluation (ACE) assessment rather than a traditional full appraisal. Loans where the property values were determined by using ACE assessments generally have better LTVs and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, as shown in the table below. Please see the PPM for more details about the ACE assessment.

The calculation of principal payments to the Notes will be based on actual principal collected on the Reference Pool. For STACR HQA transactions, beginning with the STACR 2018-HQA2 transaction, there has been a revision to principal allocation. The scheduled principal in earlier transactions was allocated pro rata between the senior and nonsenior (mezzanine and subordinate) tranches, regardless of deal performance, while the unscheduled principal was allocated pro rata subject to certain performance tests being met. For the more recent transactions, the scheduled and unscheduled principal will be combined and will be allocated pro rata between the senior and nonsenior tranches only if the performance tests are satisfied.

For STACR 2023-HQA1, the minimum credit enhancement test is not set to fail at the Closing Date. This allows rated classes to receive principal payments from the First Payment Date, provided the other two performance tests—delinquency test and cumulative net loss test—are met. Additionally, the nonsenior tranches will also be entitled to the supplemental subordinate reduction amount if the offered reference tranche percentage increases to 5.50%.

The interest payments for these transactions are not linked to the performance of the Reference Obligations, except to the extent that modification losses have occurred. The Class B-3H's Notes coupon rate will be zero, which may reduce the cushion that rated classes have to the extent any modification losses arise. Additionally, payment deferrals will be treated as modification events and could lead to modification losses. Please see the PPM for more details.

The Notes will be scheduled to mature on the payment date in May 2043, but they will be subject to mandatory redemption prior to the scheduled maturity date upon the termination of the CAA.

The Sponsor of the transaction will be Freddie Mac. Citibank, N.A. (rated AA (low) and R-1 (middle) with Stable trends by DBRS Morningstar) will act as the Indenture Trustee and Exchange Administrator. Wilmington Trust, National Association (rated AA (low) and R-1 (middle) with Stable trends by DBRS Morningstar) will act as the Owner Trustee. The Bank of New York Mellon (rated AA (high) and R-1 (high) with Stable trends by DBRS Morningstar) will act as the Custodian.

The Reference Pool consists of approximately 5.7% and 0.2% of loans originated under the Home Possible and HFA Advantage programs, respectively. Home Possible is Freddie Mac’s affordable mortgage product designed to expand the availability of mortgage financing to creditworthy low- to moderate-income borrowers.

If a Reference Obligation is refinanced under the Enhanced Relief Refinance Program, the resulting refinanced Reference Obligation may be included in the Reference Pool as a replacement of the original Reference Obligation. The Enhanced Relief Refinance Program provides refinance opportunities to borrowers with existing Freddie Mac mortgages who are current in their mortgage payments but whose LTVs exceed the maximum permitted for standard refinance products. The refinancing and replacement of a Reference Obligation under this program will not constitute a credit event.

For this transaction, if a loan becomes delinquent and the related servicer reports that such loan is in disaster forbearance before the end of the sixth reporting period following the landfall of a hurricane, Freddie Mac will remove the loan from the pool to the extent the related mortgaged property is located in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) major disaster area and in which FEMA has authorized individual assistance to homeowners in such area as a result of such hurricane that affects such related mortgaged property prior to the Closing Date.

The transaction assumptions consider DBRS Morningstar's baseline macroeconomic scenarios for rated sovereign economies, available in its commentary: Baseline Macroeconomic Scenarios for Rated Sovereigns: April 2023 Update, dated April 28, 2023. These baseline macroeconomic scenarios replace DBRS Morningstar's moderate and adverse Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic scenarios, which were first published in April 2020.

The ratings reflect transactional strengths that include the following:
-- Seller (or lender)/servicer approval process and quality control platform.
-- Well-diversified reference pool.
-- High-quality credit and loan attributes.
-- Strong alignment of interest.
-- Extensive performance history.

The transaction also includes the following challenges:
-- High LTV loans.
-- Representation and warranties framework.
-- Limited third-party due diligence.
-- Counterparty exposure.

The full description of the strengths, challenges, and mitigating factors is detailed in the related report.

There were no Environmental/Social/Governance factors that had a significant or relevant effect on the credit analysis.

A description of how DBRS Morningstar considers ESG factors within the DBRS Morningstar analytical framework can be found in the DBRS Morningstar Criteria: Approach to Environmental, Social, and Governance Risk Factors in Credit Ratings at (May 17, 2022).

All figures are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

The principal methodology applicable to the ratings is RMBS Insight 1.3: U.S. Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Model and Rating Methodology (March 3, 2023;

Other methodologies referenced in this transaction are listed at the end of this press release.

The DBRS Morningstar Sovereign group releases baseline macroeconomic scenarios for rated sovereigns. DBRS Morningstar analysis considered impacts consistent with the baseline scenarios as set forth in the following report:

The rating was initiated at the request of the rated entity.
The rated entity or its related entities did participate in the rating process for this rating action.
DBRS Morningstar had access to the accounts, management, and other relevant internal documents of the rated entity or its related entities in connection with this rating action.
This is a solicited credit rating.

Please see the related appendix for additional information regarding the sensitivity of assumptions used in the rating process.

The full report providing additional analytical detail is available by clicking on the link under Related Documents below or by contacting us at [email protected].

DBRS, Inc.
140 Broadway, 43rd Floor
New York, NY 10005 USA
Tel. +1 212 806-3277

The rating methodologies used in the analysis of this transaction can be found at:

-- Assessing U.S. RMBS Pools Under the Ability-to-Repay Rules (April 28, 2023),
-- Interest Rate Stresses for U.S. Structured Finance Transactions (August 30, 2022),
-- Third-Party Due-Diligence Criteria for U.S. RMBS Transactions (September 11, 2020),
-- Representations and Warranties Criteria for U.S. RMBS Transactions (May 16, 2023),
-- Legal Criteria for U.S. Structured Finance (December 7, 2022),
-- Operational Risk Assessment for U.S. RMBS Originators (November 23, 2022),
-- Operational Risk Assessment for U.S. RMBS Servicers (November 23, 2022),

For more information on this credit or on this industry, visit or contact us at [email protected].