The pandemic underscored the strength and vitality of workforce housing, which all too often has been seen as a solid but unexceptional corner of the multifamily market. During the past year, suburban workforce housing assets outperformed Class A urban properties, with rents and occupancy maintaining pre-pandemic levels. Certainly, the sector’s resilience can partially be attributed to the economic stimulus programs Congress enacted, but it is equally true that many of its residents are essential workers, with jobs in fields like healthcare, transportation, and critical retail that insulates them from economic downturns.

Richard Martinez, Senior Vice President, Production & Sales at Freddie Mac Multifamily, and Thomas Carroll, Founder & CEO of Ballast Rock, a specialist in workforce housing, recently shared their perspectives on the lessons learned about this critical property sector over the past year and discussed prospects going forward in a conversation moderated by Lument CEO James Flynn.

Topics include the workforce housing sector as a whole, opportunities moving forward, and potential headwinds like inflation, staffing shortages, and the impact of the Delta variant. We highlighted Freddie Mac’s efforts to support this vital sector, the economic trends driving its growth, and the initiatives the administration is taking that could accelerate the development of new properties and revitalization of older ones. At the same time, we discussed the expertise, discipline, and operational philosophy that can make these communities attractive to residents and therefore to investors.