Los Angeles —Industry executives gathered last Tuesday and Wednesday, November 16-17, in Los Angeles for InterFace Student Housing West, the first conference for student housing focused on the West Coast.
The conference kicked off Tuesday, November 16 with a cocktail party on the top floor of the Angeleno Hotel. More than half the conference’s attendees were present at the cocktail party, a good start to what was a productive day Wednesday.
Peter Katz, senior vice president, investments, of Marcus & Millichap, served as the morning’s keynote speaker and presented attendees with an update on investment sales activity in the student housing sector. Katz reported that there is an uptick in sales as the year end nears. He also observed that there is a reduction in concessions in many markets, especially those that are close to top tier state universities. Katz also stated that the reduction in university endowments is causing greater pressure to develop under public-private partnerships. The length required in creating and funding the structures may cause off-campus, unaffiliated developments to be ahead of universities in developing new housing at many state colleges.
At the morning’s “State of Student Housing” panel that followed Katz, Fred Pierce, CEO of Pierce Education Properties, stated, “Student housing is recession resistant. It is a lifestyle play. It is strong; you can be in a tough economy, but if you own at Michigan State you’re doing all right.”
At the afternoon’s capital markets update session, representatives from several mortgage facilitators as well as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were on hand to give their opinions of the market. Both Freddie and Fannie report they are looking at new deals, with Richard Martinez of Freddie Mac even saying that the company is anticipating a 20 percent increase in the amount of loans it will underwrite in 2011.
Part of the afternoon was dedicated to a one-on-one question-and-answer with Fred Pierce, CEO of Pierce Education Properties. Among Pierce’s notable comments, he said, “Student housing has enjoyed most favored nation status in commercial real estate.”
Look for highlights and coverage of InterFace Student Housing West to appear in the November/December 2010 issue of Student Housing Business.