HPET CEO Says COVID-19 Crisis Will Attract Visionary Impact Investors to Affordable Housing

Anne McCulloch, president and CEO of Housing Partnership Equity Trust (HPET), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITweek: Virtual Investor Conference (held June 2-4).

McCulloch described the three phases that affordable housing communities will go through as a result of the crisis: survive, stabilize, and thrive.

“I expect the stabilize phase will be bumpier than you might hope. There’ll be more ups and downs for a while,” McCulloch said. The thrive phase, meanwhile, entails looking longer term and recognizing that the crisis may change the jobs landscape for many residents of affordable housing, she added.

McCulloch said affordable housing communities will not only need to help their residents acquire new skills, but also provide good standard internet services to address the digital divide that the crisis has exposed.

Meanwhile, McCulloch noted that the crisis has highlighted the value of investing in things that are essential, “and nothing is more essential than housing.” As a result, “I think we’ll be able to attract visionary impact investors who have seen in stark relief the importance of housing and want to seize this opportunity to change the housing landscape going forward and strengthen our communities,” she added.

Turning to acquisitions, McCulloch said the crisis will create new opportunities to acquire and preserve housing at “better prices than we’ve seen in recent years because the next year is going to be rocky in real estate.”

“While returns may suffer over the next year, the ability to buy assets at better prices than we’ve seen in a long time means we’ll be able to generate better returns over the long term while also preserving affordability,” McCulloch said.

She added that HPET’s model of a national team with deep expertise and strong local partners “will be particularly competitive and particularly attractive to impact investors as we go through the crisis.”