The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. last week hired a housing finance veteran to head a new department for low- and middle-income buyers and renters.

Carl W. Riedy, 41, will control more than $700 million the corporation has committed to financing, equity and purchase programs as vice president of Freddie Mac's affordable housing initiatives department.

"We wanted an individual who had demonstrated experience ... and was widely regarded and respected in the {housing finance} community," said Freddie Mac vice president Jeffrey Hayman.

"Mr. Riedy certainly fits that bill," Hayman said.

The appointment is part of Reston-based Freddie Mac's latest effort to expand services to low-income people, which industry members say mirrors a trend for government agencies and private companies.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the largest company in the secondary mortgage market and Freddie Mac's primary competitor, launched similar efforts in 1987.

"We really revitalized and energized our efforts," said Larry Dale, Riedy's counterpart at Fannie Mae.

He estimated that his agency has allotted $4 billion to low-income programs in the past four years.

Dale, who worked with Riedy in the 1970s, said Freddie Mac will benefit from its new vice president's experience.

"I think he'll be a definite asset to them," he said.

Last year, as vice president for public housing finance at First Boston Corp. in New York, Riedy helped state and local agencies raise capital through bond issues.

He worked for the Washington-based National Council of State Housing Agencies from 1985 to 1989, was vice president of multi-family development at Transcon Builders Inc. of Washington from 1980 to 1985 and worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1977-1980.

"The need for affordable home ownership as well as rental housing far outstrips the supply," Riedy said.

Fewer 24- to 30-year-olds are buying houses, and more low-income families are spending as much as 40 percent of their income on rent, although federal guidelines say that rent payments should not total more than 30 percent of income.

Cooperation between federal, state and local governments, the housing industry and nonprofit groups is the key to improving housing options, Riedy said.

"It will be my job to create programs and sell them, and continue to sell them to an expanding universe of users," he said.

Though he has worked for First Boston in New York for the past year, Riedy has never left the Washington area, his home since he entered Georgetown University 20 years ago.

His family remained in Vienna this year while Riedy commuted to Manhattan.

Dissatisfaction with life in New York, he said, "coupled with the opportunity to be Freddie Mac's first individual {responsible} for concentrating resources in low- and moderate-income housing" led to him to accept the Freddie Mac job.

"I had not been actively in the job market, in the sense of looking for a new job," he said.