Truth be told

Consumer confidence jumped in May, the most in six years, causing some to think economic revival is just around the corner.


The hope is that consumers, who account for 70 percent of the economy, will finally begin to spend. And while unemployment, real estate values and dampened credit remain a focus in a number of markets, pent-up demand continues to grow with each passing day. This looming “pop” is expected to be immediate and sharp, as retailers have kept inventories meager. As such, any sudden demand would vibrate immediately through the economy.

Right on target, according to multifamily guru and chairman of Equity Group Investments, Sam Zell, who last year said we’d clear this “malaise” by Q4 2009. There’s now broad consensus on the matter.

Nearly 90 percent of economists are on board for a year-end recovery.

This is not news, though it does make an odd dynamic, as large numbers of people lie in wait, holding their wallets, foregoing vacations and driving old cars. Why they wait, I’m not sure. Maybe for Congress to stop spending so we can have our turn. (Nervous levity.) There is a striking contrast to our government’s fiscal and moral intervention in so many private companies, and that of their military housing program.

The story of The Michaels Organization serves as both inspiration and a curious tale of the government’s belief in private enterprise. Mike Levitt, an upstanding guy, long ago learned the ins and outs of working with the government. And now, he has become a military housing expert in his own right with the renovation of housing on five bases underway. It makes for great reading.

On the other side of the room, the rumor mill has been working overtime on our friends at Riverstone. We set the story straight by going directly to the top and getting the word from Toni Portmann, CEO of the company’s parent organization, CAS Partners.

There’s quite a story unfolding at Riverstone, but it doesn’t end here. When called for comment, Stan Harrelson, CEO of Pinnacle, had much to say of his contrarian view to the Riverstone philosophy of third-party management. Next issue, we will cover Harrelson and his thoughts on the recent consolidation within the industry, as well as Pinnacle’s latest conquests in vying for market position. The heat is on, and you will read it here.

There is so much passion in this book you may have to read it twice.

The writers went after the stories contained herein like lions on wildebeest. In one sleek, well-bound issue, they dispelled rumor and fable.They shed light on people and facts. They showed that when it comes to multifamily, MHP is about the true story.

In a day when editorializing and thinly-masked agenda seem in wide practice, I am proud that facts drive our stories — even at the loss of an advertiser or two.

It means we’re doing our job. It could also be why we haven’t reduced the size of our book by a single page or plowed under the stories with ads. We are a news organization and you, multihousing, are our fascination.