02/28/2014 | by Allen Kenney
NAREIT Chair Ron Havner Leads REITs onto Capitol Hill

Ron Havner, NAREIT’s 2014 chair and the chairman, president and CEO of Glendale, Calif.-based self-storage REIT Public Storage (NYSE: PSA), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. during NAREIT’s 2014 Washington Leadership Forum.

Havner offered a broad assessment of the current state of the listed REIT market.

“I think we’re doing pretty good this year so far,” he said. “Most companies have reported earnings, and they seem to be on or ahead of target.”

Havner also discussed his top priority in his one-year term as NAREIT chair.

“We have an outstanding CEO in Steve Wechsler, and my job is to support him and his excellent management team in their key initiatives for 2014,” he said. “I really view that as my one and only priority.”

Havner also talked about ways in which real estate industry stakeholders can help support NAREIT.

“One, obviously: Join NAREIT and pay your dues,” he said. “Actively participate in the events that NAREIT puts together for members. Also—and I think many members underestimate the importance of this—support REITPAC. REITPAC is our vehicle to participate in the legislative process that affects all member companies. I can’t overstate the importance of supporting REITPAC. There are a variety of venues for members to participate, support NAREIT and support the industry’s initiatives.”

Havner was asked about the key message that NAREIT members are hoping to deliver to policymakers.

“People forget that 20 years ago, this was a $10 billion industry; today, it’s a trillion-dollar industry. That was a big buffer for the financial services industry during the downturn,” he said. “All you have to do is look at Europe and see the difference between their banking system and our banking system. REITs had a big part in that. REITs are good for America. They create jobs. They invest in buildings and projects that support our communities.”

Havner also identified three legislative agenda items for the 2014 WLF event: the Marketplace Fairness Act, the Real Estate Investment and Jobs Act and the extension of the federal government’s terrorism reinsurance program.