Multi-Housing Republicans Express Pleasure Over Obama Victory

By Anuradha Kher, Online News Editor and Keat Foong, Executive EditorNew York–As Senator Barack Obama was chosen the next president of the United States on Nov. 4, the historic win became one of the biggest stories in recent times. But for finance professionals and developers in the multi-housing industry, how did this story impact the other big story—the credit crunch? MHN spoke to a few industry insiders to find out what they think.Jim Scofield, senior investment advisor at Sperry Van Ness, did not vote for President-Elect Barack Obama, but thinks his election to the Presidency of the greatest country in the world is a priceless role model for everyone. “I pray and hope his example will energize everyone to make maximum use of their God-given gifts for the collective good and prosperity of our nation and the world,” Scofield tells MHN. Scofield admires Obama for leading the most successful and far-reaching political campaign in history. “He got more than a million volunteers, raised almost $650 million and engaged some of nation’s brightest and most successful businessmen to advise him on our nation’s financial crisis. Ronald Reagan did the same thing and we fared pretty well under his presidency,” notes Scofield.As for the impact of Obama’s administration on the multifamily sector, he says that cannot be predicted. “Much uncertainty still remains as to the economy, financial markets, new regulations, future tax increases, the capital gains tax and the administration of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Actions taken on these will impact rents, expenses, NOI, the availability and cost of credit and investor return expectations, which in turn will impact apartment investment returns including the velocity of sales and pricing. No one knows yet what the Obama administration will do for sure. So it is too early to speculate.”Jeff Stuart, senior vice president Alliant Capital LLC, also did not vote for President-Elect Obama. “However, I was not displeased with Obama’s victory. I was impressed with his speech, which showed class and that he will be looking for creative solutions.”Stuart says that if there were a way to check America’s temperature right now, we would find out that the country has flu. “And I think Obama is the perfect medicine for this,” he says. As a lender to the affordable housing sector, Stuart believes his company will benefit from the Obama presidency.Then there is Michael Stewart, CEO of Pacific Property Assets, a lifelong Republican who switched sides in this election. He says this past presidential election marks the first time he “voted for Democrats for anything.”Although Stewart prefers Senator John McCain’s economic policies, he says that Obama can lift consumer sentiment, which is important to the economy. “I think the country needs an uplifting figure and McCain is not as uplifting to consumers,” says Stewart.”A changing of the guards would have a more positive effect on consumer sentiment. If consumers are depressed, I see a longer down draft than with a changing of the guards,” he adds.When asked, Stewart says the top two items on his wish list now that a new president has been elected is a normalization of the credit markets and improving people’s perception of the economy.The position of the middle class, he adds, has been neglected and taken a beating in recent years. And Democrats, he acknowledges, are stronger candidates when it comes to looking out for the middle class.Doug Andrews, president Apartment Realty Advisors (ARA), won’t reveal who he voted for, but he tells MHN, “I think everyone is just happy to have this election over. The uncertainty that was hanging over us has had a negative impact of the markets. It is a fact that the previous administration was focused on homeownership as the best housing mode. The Obama administration and Democrats in general are more likely to look at rental housing as a viable option for housing.”