Powering forward


I love what I do. Crafting a line of sight on the greatest industry, in the greatest of all nations, is an honor and a joy. I serve those who serve. Housing a nation is one of mere-mortals’ closest alliances with heaven—and you, my friends, are archangels.

The engine of multifamily housing is the small business and it is churning. Over 90 percent of the nation’s apartment units are operated by these great enterprises. If we look to them for our cues about the economy it’s clear: small business owners believe in the future. Trends around this group point to increased economic optimism and confidence, and plans for growth—the bellwether of economic forecasting.

Two of every three new jobs are created by a small business according to the Small Business Association. And the nation’s start-ups continue to rise; women alone launch around 1,821 new U.S. businesses each day according to a new American Express study.

Fueled by confidence, we continue to set awesome records of prosperity, reigniting ingenuity and giving life to good old capitalism. And because our feet remain, at least for now, firmly upon the earth, the good can only be perceived as great in contrast to pain or else it has no measure. As my homeboy, the great American satirist Mark Twain wrote, “There is no humor in heaven.”

As such, there remain flashpoints of pain.

It is evident with the ongoing affordable housing crisis across the nation. It was evident at the NAHB meeting in Portland weeks ago where apartment developers are revving their engines to build, but are stymied by labor shortages, rising costs of materials and regulations. Or in California where the next generation of apartments—should there be a next generation of apartments—will be further saddled by the cost of fighting activists’ threat of enacting Prop 10, a measure that would effectively institute rent control and put a brake on development, if passed.

The economy, the apartment business, and life, is a mixed bag. More importantly, that upon which we focus, will increase. If we continue to focus on our mission of housing America’s families, we could see the work of the angels prosper in our time, while building a corner of heaven here on earth for the people we house.