It was a busy few days in Boston last week, as NMHC members gathered for the annual spring business meetings, which included the back-to-back Apartment Strategies/Finance Conference and Spring Board of Directors Meeting.
NMHC’s Emerging Leaders kicked off the meetings, hosting a sold-out networking event for the industry’s young up-and-comers. The event’s centerpiece was a candid discussion with Bell Partners’ Chief Administration Officer Bob Slater, which he closed by leaving attendees with four tips to help guide them in their developing careers.
The following day, attendees participated in the annual strategies and finance conference, where the industry’s top lenders, investors and senior-level executives got down to brass tacks on changes in the industry’s fundamentals, capital flows, affordability challenges and more. Key takeaways were:
- Apartment Market Outlook Remains Positive Despite Minor Headwinds
First-quarter trends yield some surprises, which changes the outlook for apartment firms in the year ahead. Read more.
- Construction Activity Drives Supply Increases, But Demand Keeps Pace
New construction activity addresses a systemic apartment shortage, but the rapid acceleration in select markets generates some concern about supply imbalances. Read more.
- Capital Flows Continue, Sources Diversify and Target Secondary Markets
More capital sources search for investment opportunities in secondary markets. Read more.
- Affordability Gets Stretched, Highlights Opportunity for Affordable Housing The disparity between stagnant incomes and rent growth creates need for more affordable housing. Read more.
Many of these discussion topics were revisited again in more depth during the spring board meeting. The program included NMHC committee meetings; a special spotlight on the Boston apartment market, featuring insight from Boston Capital’s Jack Manning, CBRE’s Peter Donovan and Simon Butler and GID’s Bob DeWitt, among others; and several thought-provoking keynote addresses.
Board members heard first from Andy Wasynczuk, a Harvard University professor and former COO for the New England Patriots. As a key executive in businessman Bob Kraft’s play for the Patriots, Wasynczuk brought members inside what he called the “telescopic strategy” that led to the development of one of the most recognizable sports franchises. (It all started with the purchase of a defunct stadium and an option on an adjacent parking lot.)
General Michael Hayden, a retired Air Force four-star general and former director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, gave a provocative, post-dinner address on the fundamental shifts, which he termed “tectonics,” that are reshaping our world and creating security risk all around us. Top of his list was cyber terrorism, as few reliable defenses exist and the ramifications for harm are of enormous proportions thanks to global integration and connectivity.
“The thing that’s going to disturb your lives, your businesses isn’t going to be a nation-state,” Hayden said.
The final keynote speaker was Ed Glaeser, Harvard University’s Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics and author of Triumph of the City, a must-read for apartment executives. Glaeser’s main message was in full support of the continued development of our nation’s cities, which he deemed the nation’s greatest invention and the key to more productive, smarter, greener, healthier and happier living.
“Knowledge ends up being more important than space,” Glaeser said. “This is why cities have come back. This is why multifamily has come back.”
NMHC thanks its attendees, participants and sponsors for another successful event. Attendees can access presentation materials through the meetings archive here.