This eight page summary of the full report concludes: “There is a need for debate and discussion of the ideas in this paper, as well as broader questions about stimulating rental housing development. For example, should stimulating more private-sector participation in affordable housing development and financing be a government policy objective? Should the funding envelope be modified to provide more money for purchasing existing buildings and rehabilitating them for affordable rental? How should policy recommendations and actions be shaped to increase effectiveness in addressing needs in gentrifying areas?”
The development of multi-unit residential housing is a complex, costly, capital-intensive, and risky business, particularly for the major players: real estate developers, owners of rental buildings, and financers of development projects and long-term mortgages. All expect their financial returns to be commensurate with the risks they assume, and all need to cover their investment of time, money, and expertise.
The purpose of this paper is to help a broader audience unfamiliar with real estate finance to understand the economics of the major for-profit players, or “how they make money.” Better understanding of the for-profit real estate business and the issues faced by for-profit players in rental development should help generate ideas for incentives (or ways to overcome disincentives) to stimulate greater private-sector involvement in creating affordable multi-unit rental housing.