2024 Outlook: Q&A with David A. Rowe

What's Ahead in 2024: Affordable Housing Finance Industry Outlook

The chief administrative officer of CAMBA Housing Ventures shares what his organization is working on and the trends to watch in the year ahead.

Do you expect more or fewer affordable housing units to start construction in 2024? And, why?

CAMBA Housing Ventures (CHV) expects more units in 2024. Here in New York City, we are fortunate to have Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, and financial institutions collectively focused on creating and preserving affordable and supportive housing. As the need continues to grow, everyone is aligned on the importance of addressing housing affordability, which reduces rent burdens for those most in need. We are optimistic there will be opportunities to complete more deals for vulnerable populations and future generations.

Biggest threat to affordable housing?

Affordable housing is a sound investment which has continued to perform well for all deal partners. However, there are some investors and other institutions reevaluating their place in the market and looking to take a short pause or leave the market. (The new Community Reinvestment Act rules may have impacts when implemented in 2026.) Another significant threat is the need for affordable housing outweighing the pace at which deals can close or the timing in which it takes to complete a deal related to market conditions, such as supply chain, rates escalating, increased material costs, and delays with utilities. Lastly, in New York City, nonprofit developers are contending with untenable prices for vacant land and losing sites to all cash deals.

Biggest opportunity in affordable housing?

The biggest opportunity is to invest in neighborhoods and communities through affordable housing that will move tenants from survival to stability and success. As CHV has done in the past, there are innovative opportunities to collaborate with healthcare providers and/or develop on underutilized hospital property. We are committed to furthering our expertise in co-locating housing and healthcare. It is a privilege to create and preserve housing that changes lives and strengthens communities. CHV will continue to meet our mission to mitigate housing instability for those most in need.

What is your firm preparing for this year?

This year CHV will continue construction on three developments throughout New York City: The Bronx Grove, Clarkson Estates, and The Hart, totaling 708 units and more than $441 million in public-private partnerships. The Bronx Grove, with proximity to the NY Botanical Garden, is providing stability in a community that has seen record displacement of those most in need. Clarkson Estates and The Hart, both located in Brooklyn, were competitively awarded through New York State’s Vital Brooklyn initiative, a critical investment to address the inequities that affect residents in Central Brooklyn.

We will also be expanding our pipeline with our second deal partnering with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development through NYCHA’s Seniors First initiative. We are preparing for another productive year expanding our depths and capacity to improve neighborhoods and communities.

Trend to watch in 2024?

We expect to see a trend toward expanding and utilizing multiple creative financing sources to close deals. We also anticipate more electrification of buildings as we all prioritize sustainability and Passive House design in preservation and new construction developments. CHV applauds the uptick in recognition that co-locating healthcare and housing creates better outcomes for tenants.

There is also a strong opportunity to reposition many commercial buildings that are no longer needed for companies based on return-to-work reconfigurations. We look forward to a productive year ahead for the entire affordable housing industry.