The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC): What Investors Need to Know
The National Multifamily Housing Council, or NMHC, is a non-profit trade and advocacy group for the apartment industry. The NMHC is an active public policy group which donates to candidates that support the multifamily housing industry, while advocating for a variety of policies, including those that will help expand America’s supply of affordable housing. In addition, the NMHC conducts research on important issues in the industry, helping those both inside and outside of it make sense of market trends, sales figures, and debt and equity financing for multifamily acquisitions and development projects.
Both organizations and individuals can become members of the National Multifamily Housing Council, which provides a variety of networking opportunities, including three annual meetings, a membership directory, and a variety of educational resources. In this article, we’ll review some of the public policy objectives of the NMHC, as well as their member benefits, in order to help you decide whether becoming a member could be a valuable investment for you and your organization.
The NMHC Political Action Committee (PAC)
As a public policy and advocacy organization, the National Multifamily Housing Council’s Political Action Committee (PAC) makes direct contributions to political candidates that are committed to furthering the NMHC’s stated policy objectives. The committee is bipartisan, and decides which candidates to support solely based on their potential impact on the apartment industry, as well how their policies compare to the NMHC public policy objectives, as discussed in the section below.
NMHC Public Policy Objectives
The National Multifamily Housing Council has identified two major issues of critical importance for the apartment industry; housing affordability and regulatory reform, as well as series of smaller, yet still important policy issues. Issues include:
Housing Affordability: NMHC wants Congress to eliminate policy barriers and enact new legislation to increase the supply of affordable housing for working families across the country.
Rent Control: Rent control regulations prevent landlords from increase rents, and, while they are intended to make affordable housing options more accessible to residents, the NMHC contends that they often make shortages worse. In addition, rent control does not properly incentivize owners to keep their properties in good, clean, and safe condition-- so the NMHC generally pushes for the repeal of most rent control laws.
Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae: The NMHC strongly believes in the importance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as they greatly increase the capital available for the apartment industry, and wants to ensure that the federal government continues to support these organizations.
Fair Housing Standards: The NMHC would like to see Congress modernize and fair housing standards, particularly in regards to emotional support animals and required occupancy levels.
The HUD Section 8 Program: The NMHC believes Congress and HUD should update and streamline the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program, making it easier for landlords to participate and easier for low-income Americans to obtain clean, safe, and comfortable housing.
Construction and Development Initiatives: The NMHC believes the federal government can do a better job of incentivizing construction on a local level, by helping provide funds for local governments to offer financial rewards for the creation of multifamily developments in areas where housing is needed the most.
NMHC Sustainability Initiatives and Resources
In addition to its emphasis on public policy initiatives, the National Multifamily Housing Council is also committed improving the sustainability of apartment communities around the country. To do this, they provide a variety of resources for both members and non-members alike, including general information about sustainable development, information about financing sustainable construction and property improvements, resources to help multifamily owners cut down on utility consumption, sustainable construction resources, and a guide to green certifications and reporting.
One of the major perks of being a NMHC member is the ability to to become a part of one of the NMHC’s networking committees, which allow multifamily and apartment industry executives to discuss matters of shared interest and potentially develop valuable professional relationships. There are more than 15 open committees available for members to join, including the Innovation Committee, the PAC Committee, the Research Committee, and the Workforce Housing Committee. Members involved in the student housing industry may also be interested in the NMHC's Student Housing Council, which advocates for student housing owners and developers, as well as suggesting programming content for the NMHC’s Student Housing Conference. In addition to joining a committee, members can gain access to a directory of all of the council’s members, which may be helpful for networking purposes.
NMHC Research Initiatives and Resources
The NMHC also prides itself on its position as a leading provider of apartment industry research and analysis, which it provides on its website (though much of the more in-depth research is only available for members). Some of the council’s research initiatives and resources include:
NMHC Newsletters: The council publishes several major newsletters, including their Market Trends Newsletter and Research Notes Newsletter. The Market Trends Newsletter provides updated statistics on key market indicators like sales prices, industry growth, occupancy rates, rent prices, and more, while the Research Notes Newsletter examines broader economic trends, including capital markets and multifamily lending updates, as well as larger scale changes in apartment ownership.
NMHC Top 50: A comprehensive list of essential players in the apartment industry, including top owners, builders, developers, syndicators, and property managers.
Facts and Figures: A list of important multifamily industry statistics.
The NMHC Research Foundation: The council’s research arm finances research on a variety of issues relevant to the apartment industry, such as sustainable development, affordable housing, and the impact of zoning laws and other forms of regulation.
NMHC Membership: Should You Join?
Unlike groups such as the American Apartment Owners Association and the Landlord’s Association, which are more focused on providing discounted services for members, the National Multifamily Housing Council is a high-level public policy group, and its hefty membership fees reflect that. NMHC membership is offered at three different levels, including:
Advisory Committee Membership: At $5,000/year, Advisory Committee membership is the least expensive option for potential members. Benefits include two free attendance passes at the NMHC’s Annual Meeting in January, and one reduced attendance pass at $700, as well as three free attendance passes at the NMHC’s September Membership Meeting. In addition, members will get access to each of the NMHC’s newsletters, as well as the ability to send one mailing to the entire NMHC membership list. Other benefits include the ability to attend NMHC forums, free consultations with NMHC staff, access to the NMHC research library, and reduced cost job postings on the NHMC job and internship board.
Board of Directors Membership: At $15,000 ($10,000 for the first year), Board of Directors membership is the second tier of membership available from the NMHC. In addition to all of the basic benefits offered in the Advisory Committee membership, Board of Directors membership allows for an additional representative to attend the NMHC’s Annual Meeting in January. It also allows members to serve as NMHC officers and chair NMHC committees, attend private industry events with government leaders and business executives, to sponsor NMHC events, and to represent the council in front of Congress and other governmental committees.
Executive Committee Membership: Offered by invitation only, this level of membership costs $20,000 per year. In addition to offering all of the benefits of each of the other membership tiers, Executive Committee membership provides members access to three exclusive peer roundtables each year, as well as the ability to attend additional VIP events and luncheons.
So, taking all that information into account, is membership in the NMHC a worthwhile investment? The answer depends completely upon your individual situation and goals. If you’re a high-level employee or executive in a mid-size or larger real estate investment or development firm, brokerage, or a major supplier to the apartment industry, and you want to focus on building your industry relationships, an advisory committee membership could be a great idea.
Since the $5,000 annual membership dues are relatively steep, NMHC membership likely isn’t worth it for smaller multifamily investors, or those who are relatively satisfied with their current network. At $15,000 and $20,000 respectively, Board of Directors and Executive Committee memberships may not be a worthwhile investment unless you’re a high-level executive at a top firm with a specific interest in learning about and shaping public policy initiatives.