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An inside look at HousingWire’s multifamily expansion

Coverage focuses on lending and real estate trends impacting owners, builders, investors

Typically, Ben Lane is the one doing the interviewing. Today, I get to flip the script and lead an interview with HousingWire’s esteemed Editor.

For more than four years, Ben served HousingWire readers through his coverage of mortgage origination, loan servicing, secondary markets and regulatory topics. Ben built a following, but more importantly authored incredible award-winning journalism that fuels HousingWire’s mission of Moving Markets Forward.

In April of this year, HousingWire announced our expansion into covering the Multifamily real estate and lending market. Ben will be leading this charge.

This interview shines some light on HousingWire’s multifamily strategy with particular focus on what makes the editorial approach unique. In a quick coaching session with me, Ben reminded us that great articles should cover the who, what, when, where and how. Seems simple enough, but who else in the space still adheres to these journalistic fundamentals?

Here’s our Q&A:

CC: Why is now the right time to expand HousingWire’s coverage of the multifamily market?

BL: In many ways, this is a no-brainer for us. In talking with certain industry participants about our planned expansion, many thought we already covered multifamily housing. In some ways, we did, but on a much smaller scale than we plan to do going forward.

So, this expansion feels very natural for us. We want to cover the entire housing economy, and multifamily is a huge portion of that market. And it’s one that’s only growing. Demographic trends show that rental housing needs are only going to increase.

Younger people seem to want to be closer to metro areas, cities, downtowns…where the action is. In many cities, that means living in a multifamily building, whether it’s an apartment or a condo, is going to be their choice.

And it’s not just younger people that are choosing renting over owning. People of all ages are showing a preference for renting. That means that the housing market in this country is changing.

We want to be at the forefront of that change.

CC: What makes HousingWire’s multifamily coverage model unique?

BL: We want to bring what we already do for the single-family housing market to the multifamily market: true national news coverage and analysis of the issues that matter to the people in and around the multifamily industry.

Are Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac planning some innovative expansion of their multifamily business? If so, you’ll hear about it here first.

And we don’t just plan to cover the news in the industry. We’re planning on speaking to the industry’s biggest players to find out how their business is performing, what’s succeeding, and what isn’t.

Plus, we’re planning on bringing you guest commentaries from some of the industry’s movers and shakers, who will share what it’s like on the front lines of the multifamily industry and what you can do succeed.

We want to become the same valued news outlet for the multifamily housing business that we already are for the single-family business.

CC: In your initial month of coverage, what are the biggest topics facing the multifamily market?

BL: An industry source recently told me that the multifamily industry is like the “Energizer bunny” right now. It just keeps going and going. Multifamily loan originations are growing and loan delinquencies are at historical lows. But how long can that train keep moving in the same direction? Is a correction coming? Or is it smooth sailing for the foreseeable future?

One thing of interest for us is how deals are getting done. What’s the source of capital? Fannie and Freddie? FHA? Life insurance companies? Private capital? Community banks? Foreign investors? There’s certainly a lot of money moving through this industry right now, and we want to help our readers make sense of all of it.

And while there is money in the sales and acquisitions side of the business, there doesn’t seem to be enough money to build enough new units to keep up with the growing demand for rental housing. There’s a supply and demand mismatch. How do we solve that problem?

One thing we’ve seen is that there certainly is not enough affordable housing. Housing costs and rents are exceeding where incomes have gone. So how do we ensure that there’s enough housing to fill the needs of all potential renter – not just the ones that can afford Class A properties?

CC: Are there particular audiences that you seek to serve?

BL: It’s clear that the traditional vision of homeownership will not be the only way that people live going forward. Non-traditional means, whether it’s renting or something else, are the way of the future.

We want to be supportive of the people that are building, buying, selling, owning, developing, and managing those communities. So, it’s our goal that the lenders, investors, developers, property managers, and any other person connected to multifamily housing will find value in what we write and talk about here on HousingWire.

CC: What is your strategy for building and communicating with this audience?

BL: As some of our eagle-eyed readers may have noticed already, we’ve been covering multifamily news in earnest for about a month now and including it in our twice-daily newsletters. And we plan to continue covering developments in the multifamily industry going forward.

For a full look at our multifamily coverage so far, click here. And bookmark that page if you’d like. All our multifamily coverage will live on that page.

Beyond that, I’m excited to announce that we’re planning to launch a new, exclusive newsletter called RentWire, which is just for the multifamily industry. [You can pre-register here.]

For those that already subscribe to our newsletters, this one will be a bit different.

This new newsletter will feature the three biggest stories in the multifamily industry, crafted and curated by the HousingWire team and delivered directly to your email inbox, three times a week. So, very soon, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays you can expect to read intelligent, actionable news coverage of the multifamily industry.

Our plan is to officially launch the newsletter in early June. If you’re interested, please click here to subscribe.

Additionally, we plan to launch a multifamily-focused podcast where we chat with some of the industry’s biggest names.

And we hope that you’ll contribute to this effort as well. If you have any ideas or tips, or if you want to contribute, please don’t hesitate to reach out me to me directly at [email protected]. We want to be the multifamily news outlet that you love to read, so if you like what we’re doing, please let us know. And if you don’t like it, well, please let us know that too. We want to be of service to our readers.

You’re our most valued resource and we look forward to taking this journey together.

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