Multifamily Executive (MFE) is a magazine that brings multifamily housing news to the industry. The publication recently hosted it’s 2021 conference for owners, developers, architects, and operators to gain essential insights into the multifamily industry and tap into opportunities for the future.

The theme for this year's conference was “Explore the Future of Multifamily Development.” The agenda focused on the future of multifamily housing and how to stay on top of industry trends and changes. This included many discussions around the digital divide, the importance of technology in multifamily, the impacts of COVID-19 within the industry, and how to remain successful in a post-pandemic world.

Over the course of 3 days, guests of MFE heard from a number of industry-leading experts including Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda Economics, Alexandra Jackiw, COO of Hayes Gibson Property Services, and our very own Kanan Ajmera! Workshops and speaking engagements covered a wide range of topics, from proptech, to insurance, to the eviction moratorium, and more.

If you weren’t able to make it to the in-person event or the virtual conference, we’ve got you covered with a recap of Kanan’s presentation.

The Revolution of Technology in Multifamily Housing

Over the last few years, there has been a revolution in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), mostly driven by new developments in AI like deep neural nets and new types of neural net architectures such as GPT-3.

This means machines can learn skills by analyzing vast amounts of data. Yes, this includes learning to recognize cats by analyzing thousands of cat photos, but it also means a great deal for our industry. For example, machines can now “learn” from thousands of records of multifamily operating data to answer questions like “how much should it cost to operate a single multifamily housing unit in Las Vegas?”

For the affordable housing industry, this is a huge breakthrough. Underwriting multifamily housing loans remains to be an antiquated process and we’re still using antiquated methods, such as phone calls, emails and excel to close millions of dollars in loans.

In fact, it typically takes developers months to collect, collate, and package over 1000+ documents from various sources to apply for a loan. And the lender’s job is no easier. From due diligence to vetting with third-party experts and putting together a coherent analysis for an investment committee, this process is extremely tedious, erroneous—not to mention time consuming.

Now, thanks to advancements in AI and NLP, large amounts of data is accessible by using simple human language commands. For example, “Use three comparable properties in zip code 10549 and subject property to compare operating costs of the last five years,” and the trained neural nets can provide you with a table comparing costs and eliminating housing projects that are not similar. 

This revolution in technology is moving the needle forward in what machines can understand and do for us—especially when it comes to the affordable housing industry.

Working Together to Reinvent Multifamily Housing

Kanan was honored to present in the same session as three other CEOs whose companies work to make multifamily housing financing, construction, and renting easier:

  • Jonathan Scherr, Co-founder and CEO, Juno
    Juno builds sustainable multifamily housing by combining world-class design and a mass timber building system to create elegant, innovative, and sustainable homes in cities. Through a process called productization, Juno can create tools, systems, and processes that will significantly accelerate the construction process and build housing that reduces waste and energy.

  • Brent Steiner, Founder and CEO, Engrain
    Engrain transforms the way people find, lease and manage property with interactive property maps, property touring solutions, business intelligence, and more. Engrain quite literally brings multifamily housing units and maps to the digital age, and Builders Patch sees enormous potential in its usefulness to our developer customers.
  • Tyler Christiansen, CEO, Funnel
    Funnel works to drive more efficient leasing with intuitive leasing and communication tools. Funnel is turning marketing and leasing on its head with "renter-centric" approach. They create and map profiles that follower the renter—not just the units that need to be rented to ensure all renters have a seamless renting experience.

Builders Patch provides developers and lenders with a secure cloud-based platform to manage multi-family housing deals from acquisition to asset management. The platform is particularly focused on automating due diligence collection, underwriting and loan approvals. Builders Patch is a venture capital backed startup, the company recently raised $2.3MM in seed funding from Urban Innovation Fund, Govtech Fund, Urban Us, Lucas Venture Fund, TenOneTen Ventures and others.

Most notable is their new partnership with NYCHDC. As one of the nation’s top issuers of mortgage revenue bonds for affordable multi-family housing since 2003, HDC has financed more than 201,000 housing units using over $27 billion in bonds and other debt obligations and provided in excess of $3 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves and other available funds held by the corporation.


Click here to learn more about MFE 2021 and how you can purchase an on-demand version of the virtual conference.

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