Diversity Illoby Diana illustration: Diana Ong

Takeaways from NMHC Annual Meeting, Day Two

The second day of the 2017 National Multifamily Housing Council Annual meeting in San Diego included a discussion of the importance of ethnic diversity and inclusion of women in top management positions, a coming Baby Boomer rental boom and report on NMHC’s efforts to increase workforce housing production.  Here are the takeaways:

  1. Companies that include people of color and women in their senior executive ranks enjoy better economic performance—25 percent higher profits—than companies without a diverse executive team, according to research. But only 20 percent of public companies have women in senior management positions or on their boards of directors, while on average 44 percent of their workforce is made up of women. Even when a women breaks the glass ceiling, she is paid on average 30 percent less than her male colleagues.
  2. A study by Commercial Women in Real Estate (CREW) revealed an overall 23.3 percent gap between pay for female and male real estate professionals that perform similar jobs. Men in the industry make on average $150,000 annually vs. $115,000 for women, with the gap averaging 33.8 percent for brokers, 25.9 percent for developers and 16.9 for those in the finance sector.
  3. Companies with a diverse and inclusionary workforce are not only Best Places to Work, but also attract the most talented employees. Recruiting women and people of color often requires companies to look outside their own sphere of influence to people with skill sets unlike those traditionally desired for some roles, but that are transferrable to the positions being filled. 
  4. A Boomer rental wave is coming. From 2001 to 2010, the 65-plus population grew by 81 percent, compared to 10 percent growth among 25- to 34-year-olds, 47 percent growth for 35- to 44-year-olds and three percent growth for those in the 55 to 64 age group. This rental boom presents tremendous opportunities for multifamily developers that understand the Boomer market.
  5. Eighty-one of Americans over the age of 65 own their own home, and 72 percent have paid off their mortgage. Forty nine percent of these homeowners are considering selling their homes and renting to be more flexible, free themselves from home maintenance chores and/or enjoy the benefits of living in an urban environment.
  6. Sixty four percent of Boomers expect to move one or two more times during their lifetime, and unlike the previous generation, 67 percent feel free to move wherever and whenever they please. Fifty one percent of Boomers who are homeowners plan to downsize, and 30 percent plan to upsize.
  7. Features Boomers desire in a community include, in order of priority: safety and security; a sense of community; a mixed-use environment; opportunities for learning or enrichment; a vibrant, affordable economy; ability to work or volunteer; public transportation; and access to great healthcare. A significant number of Boomers are expected to move to college towns in low cost of living areas, because this environment provides amenities they enjoy, such as coffee houses, interesting lectures and cultural events.
  8. Boomers say the thing they miss most about working is relationships with coworkers. Roommate situations are expected to become a common phenomenon among this age group.
  9. Boomers refuse to live in age-restricted, isolated “senior” communities. They prefer living in a mixed-age environment.
  10. The NMHC workforce housing committee is working with lawmakers to create middle-income housing tax credits, which would qualify households earning up to 80 percent of area median income for affordable housing. The committee is also developing incentives to attract private investment capital to workforce housing projects. The committee is analyzing successful local workforce housing programs to determine if they could be successful on a national level.
  11. NMHC/NAA is preparing to launch a Vision 2030 public relations campaign to educate communities about the law of supply and demand in terms of housing affordability. NMHC will also undertake research to determine how many new housing units will be needed between 2017 and 2030 to keep up with demand.
  12. Software developers are creating tool kits to help jurisdictions analyze how building policies, like the ratio of parking spaces to units or length of time for the entitlement process, might impact project profitability. These tools can also demonstrate how land use could be aligned to promote development of a maximum number of units for greater affordability. The University of California, Berkley’s Terner Center the Housing Development Dashboard is an example. It not only analyzes profitability of projects and land use efficiency, the software predicts if a project is likely to get built based on its profitability.
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