Change is in the air

As we head into the final months of the year, there is a sense in that things are changing both for the industry and the nation.

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The industry gave a collective sigh of relief after the Federal Reserve met at the end of October and decided to leave the federal funds rate unchanged. Those that hoped to see rates go up and further spark demand for rental housing were disappointed and those that feared the fed might cut rates to shore up the cooling housing market were relieved.

MHP looks at the whole interest rate debate in this issue and evaluates whether this bellwether indicator of the market really tells the story or has given way to other factors that better determine where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

Some believe the Federal Reserve has intervened too much in efforts to manage the economy instead of leaving its course to market forces. Standard statistical analyses and formulaic indicators often lag the reality of the market. Do they capture the population and demographic trends altering the economic landscape? Do they reflect the roles of GSEs as the key lending force in the housing market?

However interest rates play out, everyone will be watching investors and key players to see which way they’re headed. Interest rates don’t change the fundamental truths the market has learned in recent years ” controlling operational costs, optimizing facilities management and deploying innovative marketing strategies to capture and retain residents are the key to profitability.

November elections offer the real possibility of a changeover in control of the house and senate as well as changes in state and local government. There’s a strong potential for Democrats to regain the House and Senate, although the majority would likely not be significant to affect major changes in the Administration’s policies.

What may very well shift if Democrats’ gain control is the focus on housing from support for home buyers to meeting the needs for affordable housing.

Other issues, some beyond our control, still govern the global climate we live in and do business in. Questions remain about the future of the war in Iraq and the ever present threat of terrorism.

As we begin to distance ourselves from the recent skyrocketing energy prices, government and industry are looking to long-term solutions to the energy crisis.

Just as the market continues to evolve, so has MHP. Our focus is on uncovering the trends, players and events that provide the best snapshot of where the industry is and where it’s going. We’re also mindful that ours is a people industry and they drive the companies and properties that make up the apartment industry. That’s why we seek out the industry leaders to probe their minds on the things that matter and get their opinions on the key issues facing multifamily.

This issue, as always, offers articles that look for the story behind the story.

No industry trade magazine operates in a vacuum. We rely on our ongoing dialog with you, the industry’s professionals, to shape what we cover and who we talk to. So, in a sense, this is your magazine as much as it is ours. We want to know what you think, what you want to read about.

As we head into the end of the year and the holiday season, all of us at MHP extend our best wishes to you for the holidays and for a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous New Year.