2020 Event Agenda

Day 1 | Tuesday, February 11, 2020

*Note: Timing of sessions is preliminary and subject to change

8:45 AM - 9:00 AM 1.0 | Opening Remarks

FEATURING
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC

AmeriCatalyst CEO and event curator Toni Moss opens with candid commentary about the event narrative, ENTROPY, and how it directly relates to all sessions in this year’s program. She will also discuss her prediction of a trend that will define business success over the next decade.


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM 1.1 | SMART THINKING: Thriving in Chaos

HOSTED BY
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
FEATURING
  • Art Markman, Executive Director, IC2 Institute

What motivates us? How do we reason? How do we come to decisions, and what are our biases in making them? Why do those decisions tend to favor conflict rather than concession? Why do we remain steadfast to bad decisions? What is the nature of problem solving? What thought process differentiates an optimist from a pessimist? And why does the perennial belief that our best days are behind us persist? The purpose of this session is to show how leaders can thrive in this unique period that we’ve coined, “the New Abnormal” by understanding how and why we need to change the way that we think, and how we can “think smarter”. The practical implications for the housing industry are profound for understanding consumer and investor behavior, as well as individual motivation. 

In this session we feature renowned cognitive psychologist Dr. Art Markman, who is the Executive Director of the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Founding Director of the Human Dimensions of Organizations program at The University of Texas. Art is the author of the best-selling books, “Smart Thinking”, “Bring Your Brain to Work”, “BrainBriefs”, “Habits of Leadership” and “Smart Change”. He is also one of the two hilarious and insightful guys in the “Two Guys on Your Head” podcast.



10:15 AM - 11:45 AM 1.2 | THE AVENGERS: The Undeniable Facts About the Housing Market and What They Mean for the Future of Housing

HOSTED BY
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
  • Rick Sharga, President and CEO, CJ PATRICK COMPANY
FEATURING
  • Doug Duncan, SVP & Chief Economist, Fannie Mae
  • Lynn Fisher, Senior Economic Advisor - Office of the Director, FHFA | Federal Housing Finance Agency
  • Laurie Goodman, Co-Director, Housing Finance Policy Center, The Urban Institute
  • Sam Khater, Vice President and Chief Economist, Economic and Housing Research, Freddie Mac
  • Dowell Myers, Professor of Urban Planning and Demography, The University of Southern California

Some events are lucky to have one or two of the speakers on this panel, we are fortunate to have them all. This session features a powerhouse of the industry’s best analysts, economists and demographers to provide a comprehensive baseline of the most important facts, data and trends impacting the housing industry. We will begin with a robust, Sharpie-free analysis of the conflicting and disconcerting signs and data on the economy and housing market implications of the “missing middle” in labor markets and worker obsolescence. What does it mean for housing affordability?  We then move to the unprecedented change in demographics - the primary driver of the economy - and how the changes in population, productivity and prosperity impact the prospects for and needs of renters and homeowners of the future.


Plot spoiler: We are not ready for that future because we continue to rely on generational homeownership waterfalls that have long since broken. In identifying new population shifts, we discuss supply and demand, and how the industry must adapt its mentality and products to serve them. We also discuss the segments of the current population that are increasingly marginalized and underserved. What is interesting about this group is not just the fresh data and insights that they will be presenting, but the discussion among them about what it means for the industry moving forward.



12:45 PM - 2:15 PM 1.3 | ENTROPY: Who Are the Winners and Losers of a New Government Housing Order?

HOSTED BY
  • Richard K. Green, Director and Chair, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate
  • Christopher Whalen, Chairman, Whalen Global Advisors
FEATURING
  • Ed DeMarco, President, Housing Policy Council
  • Sean Dobson, Chief Executive Officer | Chairman, Amherst Holdings LLC
  • Laurie Goodman, Co-Director, Housing Finance Policy Center, The Urban Institute
  • Jeb Mason, Managing Director, Cypress Advisory
  • MIchael Stegman, Senior Fellow, MILKEN INSTITUTE CENTER FOR FINANCIAL MARKETS
  • Ted Tozer, Former President, GNMA | Ginnie Mae

Since 2008, conversations about the benefits of homeownership and whether the government should continue to subsidize and promote it have changed significantly. This is exactly why we have used the editorially prophetic title, “Renting, the Future” for the Single-Family Rental portion of this event since 2010.  At a rate of 64.8% in 2018 and declining, the U.S. has one of the lowest rates of homeownership in the world. As you contemplate the increasing lack of civility in today’s American society, keep this in mind: One of the primary functions of government support of homeownership has had nothing to do with macroeconomic stimulus. In addition to forced savings for Americans’ economic stability, governments promote homeownership to reduce crime and civil unrest. 


Today’s government-subsidized housing and mortgage market infrastructure is based on policies stemming from the Great Depression, the post-World War II demographic shift and housing boom that helped create and maintain a solid middle class and, of late, the housing market implosion of 2007/2008, which wiped out almost $6 trillion in home values. Since the 1930’s, the government has intervened in housing policy when the economy has undergone significant changes in demographic structure, as well as changes in income distribution and the progressivity of taxable income. Intervention mechanisms include tax treatment and benefits, regulation of and participation in the financial system, and direct subsidies to housing producers and consumers. Today, we face the exact criteria that have prompted government intervention in the past, so what happens now?  


The U.S. Department of Treasury recently released its plan to reform the U.S. housing finance system. The ambitious Plan includes almost 50 recommended legislative and administrative studies to be undertaken, all of which define a more limited government role for the housing finance system of the future. For those who advocate shrinking the government footprint in the market, the Plan is widely heralded if indeed the plans come to fruition. One of the more interesting plans includes expanding Federal Home Loan Bank membership to include non-banks, which could level the playing field among lenders. On the other hand, some argue that the plan constraints credit availability which, in turn, could potentially eliminate the “dream of homeownership” for aspiring minority homebuyers, debt-laden Millennials, residents of less lucrative geographic regions, and other financially challenged or low-income Americans.


Is this the last opportunity for the middle class to achieve homeownership? Should homeownership continue to be the goal of government? While we will likely end with more questions than we address, this crucial session looks at who would be the winners and losers in the New Government Housing Order



2:30 PM - 3:40 PM 1.4 | LAST “MAN” STANDING: Surviving the Mortgage Market Fallout

HOSTED BY
  • David Stevens, CMB, Housing Policy Advocate and Consultant
  • Christopher Whalen, Chairman, Whalen Global Advisors
FEATURING
  • Jay Bray, President, CEO and Chairman, Mr. Cooper
  • Ron Haynie, President and CEO, ICBA | INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY BANKERS ASSOCIATION
  • Stan Middleman, CEO, Freedom Mortgage
  • Susan Mills, Managing Director/Head of Residential Finance, Citi Global Markets
  • Terry Smith, CEO, Rushmore Loan Management Services

First, the good news: In the second quarter of 2019, lenders reported making the highest profit per loan since 2016! Here’s the rest of the story. Since 2009, we’ve seen a seismic shift in the mortgage lending landscape, which continues to evolve in ways that we believe the industry is entirely unprepared for. Since the 1930’s mortgage lending has been based on close, long-term relationships with regulated banking institutions. Today, large banks, averse to regulation and headline risk, have more or less exited the mortgage lending business with the exception of keeping third-party channels alive by undertaking third-party origination and flipping the loans. Driven by the need for fee income, community banks appear to be making a comeback.


Which brings us to the new 800 lb. gorillas in the market: The non-bank lenders, who currently originate almost 65% of current home loans. Facing the same liquidity pressures that led to the implosion of 2007/2008, their rise continues to pose serious systemic risk to the global financial infrastructure, not to mention inordinate taxpayer risk. Economically, non-bank lenders are like hemophiliacs in a world of sharp objects: A jump in interest rates; a rise in defaults, or a prolonged recession could likely lead to a pullback in warehouse lines that, in turn, would cause rapid non-bank lender failures. Those failures, as we have seen before, could trigger a credit contraction, a decline in house prices, a drag on the economy and hit the most vulnerable homeowners at a time of already unprecedented economic vulnerability. Is there a solution in sight?


Meanwhile technology, the greatest enabler of non-bank market players, has emancipated consumers, who now have almost unlimited options to transact with whomever they want. The key word in this “Technium” is transact. No longer relationship-oriented, mortgage lending and servicing are now entirely transactional, with no loyalty from either side of the transaction. Despite the billions of dollars being invested in digital mortgages, lenders and servicers continue to be constrained by underlying, legacy technology platforms that restrict innovation and the ability to adapt to rapid consumer changes. This dynamic requires disaggregation and specialization to survive, and renders much of the housing finance industry vulnerable to disintermediation.


In the secondary market, it seems that everyone is out of alignment: Wall Street is out of alignment with the originators, the largest originators are massive refi shops, which in turn, are out of alignment with bondholders. Meanwhile, those with MSR portfolios are currently getting their teeth kicked in. Today’s mortgage business is entirely leveraged and cyclical, the latter of which incentivizes short-term thinking and punishes long-term planning. Current boom/bust dynamics have changed the psyche of market players on all sides of the secondary market transaction process, from originators who ignore the consequences of servicer takeouts to the bipolar shifts of greed and fear among investors.


Finally, the mortgage industry has experienced ten years with no growth. Even with mortgages 10% larger on average than a decade ago, the market is currently valued at $11 trillion when it should be around $15 trillion. Why is the market not growing? We predict that consolidation activities and company failures are on trajectory to shrink the lending market to around 10 to 12 lenders and servicers over the next five years. This session features lenders and servicers with no shortage of issues to talk about. Foremost, how can the market grow in the future? What strategies will it take to survive and thrive in that future? Which players will be the last ones standing?  And finally, what will the industry look like among the few who survive?


4:00 PM - 5:00 PM 1.5 | FREUDIAN SLIPS: Investor Perceptions in Balancing Risk in the New Abnormal

HOSTED BY
  • Sean Dobson, Chief Executive Officer | Chairman, Amherst Holdings LLC
  • Michael Drayne, Senior Vice President, Office of Issuer and Portfolio Management, GNMA | Ginnie Mae
FEATURING
  • Anup Agarwal, Head of Structured Products, WAMCO | Western Asset Management Co
  • Eric Kaplan, Director, Center for Financial Markets, MILKEN INSTITUTE
  • Jeb Mason, Managing Director, Cypress Advisory
  • Andrew Rippert, FOUNDER AND CEO, SECONDARY RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE MARKET INVESTMENT FUND

In early November of 2019, Ray Dalio wrote a provocative essay on the current state of the global financial system titled, “The World Has Gone Mad and the System is Broken”.  A world in which, Dalio writes, “expected returns are left to investors’ imaginations”. Among other seriously problematic issues, with regard to central banks Dalio states, “This whole dynamic in which sound finance is being thrown out the window will continue and probably accelerate, especially in the reserve currency countries.” Dalio warns that the world is “approaching a big paradigm shift” because “the current system of capitalism is not working for most people.”


Welcome to the New Abnormal.


In honor of this mad world, we’ve themed this session “Freudian Slips,” as Freud may provide better insight insight into investor behavior than market dynamics of the past. While much of the 2008 recovery in the mortgage market is due to capital from new sources, market liquidity remains vulnerable. New capital has not yet been tested by market cycles, a recession is looming, and originators have increasingly transferred risk to institutional investors. This session looks at new players in the field from a variety of investment strategies, their rationale in balancing risk/return and the issues posed by their participation in the market. In particular, we’ll discuss warehouse financing; asset purchases; Private Label Securities; REITs; Mortgage Servicing Rights; Ginnie Mae bonds and equity capital.



5:00 PM - 6:15 PM 1.6 | THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Is the Economy Stable and Poised for Growth or Headed for Collapse? THE ANNUAL CHAMPAGNE DEBATE.

HOSTED BY
  • Amy Brandt, President and Chief Operating Officer, Docutech
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
FEATURING
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *
  • Ted Tozer, Former President, GNMA | Ginnie Mae
  • Christopher Whalen, Chairman, Whalen Global Advisors

Adapting the words of Molly Ivins, we love debating economic opinions and predictions but consider it a harmless perversion on our part, and discuss it only with consenting adults. In this case, our much-anticipated Champagne Debate this year pits the Bulls and the Bears in a debate over prolonged economic stability and growth vs. an imminent and prolonged economic recession - or worse. One of the most important questions in this debate is how much are we willing to postpone economic pain at the expense of the future, and what are the consequences of that trade-off? How long can the expansion we’ve seen since the last crash continue before another recession hits? And if a global recession is pushed further into the future by even larger amounts of money borrowed from the financial system, will the next recession be a crash of even larger proportions than that of 2008? Were it to happen again, do we have any tools left to fight it?  We realize how difficult it is for the Bulls to argue against the Bears - the Bears always sound smarter because they have so much evidence on their side. And we’re off! This debate is certain to hit all of the current flashpoints of disagreement and will hopefully end in enlightenment. 


Day 2 | Wednesday, February 12, 2020

*Note: Timing of sessions is preliminary and subject to change

8:30 AM - 8:50 AM 2.0 | OPENING REMARKS

FEATURING
  • Sean Dobson, Chief Executive Officer | Chairman, Amherst Holdings LLC

SPEAKER TO BE ANNOUNCED


8:50 AM - 10:00 AM 2.1 | CREATIVE DESTRUCTION: How Cities are Managing Housing Shortages and the Future of Cities

HOSTED BY
  • Rayman Mathoda, CEO, Xome Holdings
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
FEATURING
  • SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *
  • John-Michael Cortez, Special Assistant to the Mayor of Austin, City of Austin
  • Carol Galante, I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy and the Faculty Director of THE TERNER CENTER FOR HOUSING INNOVATION, The University of California at Berkeley
  • Peter Merrigan, Chief Executive Officer & Partner, Taurus Investment Holdings LLC

One of the greatest opportunities in the housing industry today is the wave of urbanization and development of smart cities. However, as we have seen from rocks flying at the Google bus, in addition to homelessness, one of the greatest problems that cities face is the lack of affordable housing to buy or rent, which has reached crisis proportions. Although the economy appears to have recovered since 2008, housing stock additions have grown at a low annual rate of 10% since 2011. Relative to demand, all new construction remains depressed, leaving the country with a severe overall housing shortage. Across the country, cities are reinventing themselves and implementing key zoning reforms to increase housing density based on two approaches: one is to enable the building of more and less expensive housing in desirable neighborhoods, i.e., multifamily housing in what had previously been single-family neighborhoods. Another is to increase density near job centers and transit stations, alleviating increased density in residential neighborhoods. This session features a discussion on current impediments to construction recovery, and what city planners and mayors are doing to overcome obstacles to increase affordable housing options and availability. We also look to the future design of cities and how housing will inevitably change as power moves from the federal to the local level.



10:20 AM - 11:40 AM 2.2 | FATAL ABSTRACTION: The Inevitable Impact of Climate Change on House Prices and Real Estate Values - How to Protect Your Assets, Where to Buy, Where To Sell, and When to Freak Out

PART I: FEATURING
  • DR. KATHARINE HAYHOE, Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change, focusing on why it matters here and now. She has been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People; Fortune’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders, and recently received a 2019 Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest environmental honor. She is the host of the PBS digital series “Global Weirding”, and has also served as lead author on the Second, Third, and Fourth National Climate Assessments. The 1,500 page report is the most authoritative on climate issues. Katharine’s presentation is followed by a panel of reinsurance actuaries, investors and data providers who are at the forefront of calculating the impact of the reality of a warming planet.

PART II: FEATURING A PANEL DISCUSSION
HOSTED BY
  • Toni Moss, CEO, AmeriCatalyst LLC
  • DR. KATHARINE HAYHOE, Director, TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
  • LAURA CRAFT, SVP, Global Strategy and Investment ESG, HEITMAN
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

Have you heard the joke about the risk manager who jumps off of a 20-story building and as he passes each floor he says with relief,  “So far, so good!”? Whether you prefer to call it “climate change” or “extreme weather events”, no one can ignore the apocalyptic environmental disasters happening today. As we write this introduction, Alaska and the Amazon are on fire and two cracks on the Antarctic Brunt Ice Shelf just recently broke off, causing an iceberg the size of Los Angeles to slide into the ocean. But hey, so far, so good. 


In May of 2019, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine LaGarde named climate change as “the greatest existential challenge of our times”. In the World Economic Forum’s annual “Global Risks Landscape 2019”, in terms of likelihood, climate-related risks were the top three risks. In terms of impact, climate-related risks were numbers two and three, just after weapons of mass destruction.  


The implications of climate change for house prices and real estate values are astounding, for insurers; taxpayers (think about the geographic concentration of coastal properties and those in fire zones in GSE, HUD and VA portfolios); mortgage originators and servicers; SFR operators and investors. The goal of Part I of this session is to inform about which cities are the most vulnerable to severe effects of climate change over what period of time (which is sooner than you think), and which cities will actually benefit from climate change migration. Where and when should you be selling and where should you be buying now?


Part II features a combination of one of the largest investors/asset managers; two of the world’s top climate data providers and the largest reinsurer. They will be discussing how investors look at real estate and climate risk today; how risk models have very recently been entirely recalibrated to account for several dramatic recent events, and how insurers are now risk-based pricing homeowner policies in areas most at risk; are planning to cease insurance in the near future or are no longer insuring at all. Some of the areas in which homeowner policies will be discontinued are shocking given the amount of single-family investments that continue to be made in those areas. These developments have a profound impact on market players and stakeholders across the housing and real estate industry. Not to mention humanity.



12:45 PM - 1:30 PM 2.3 | IVY ZELMAN

HOSTED BY
  • Laurie Hawkes, Principal, Hawkes Insites
FEATURING
  • Ivy Zelman, Principal/Chief Executive Officer, Zelman & Associates

Information is not illumination. Rather than simply provide information about housing market sectors, Ivy Zelman has that unique ability to synthesize and illuminate interactions among and between the entire housing ecosystem. Static research is the norm these days. Ivy’s research is dynamic, predictive, actionable - and bold. Over the years, Ivy has made some of the best investment calls in the market. Words matter, and Ivy's words move stock prices and markets. She will be discussing the internal and external factors impacting the housing ecosystem and inherent opportunities within it.


TOPICS

  • Pros and Cons of Rates and Affordability

  • Housing demand and supply

  • Population shifts and the impact of declining birthrates

  • Housing stock mismatches

  • Sizing the rental market and rental housing trends

  • Trends and outlook for Single Family Rental

  • The iBuyer Revolution: When profitability doesn't matter


1:30 PM - 2:40 PM 2.4 | RENTING, THE FUTURE: If You Build It, They Will Rent

HOSTED BY
  • Rich Ford, Chief Development Officer & Co-Founder, ROOFSTOCK
  • Laurie Hawkes, Principal, Hawkes Insites
FEATURING
  • Drew Flahive, President of Single Family Residential Capital, Amherst Holdings LLC
  • Matt Halstead, Senior Investment Manager, TRS| Teacher Retirement System of Texas
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

When we began coverage of the newly developed Single-Family Rental sector at this event in 2010, we called the initial sessions “Renting the Future”. By 2012, we added an editorial comma to what became a full day of sessions, “Renting, the Future”. With homeownership increasingly out of reach for so many Americans, out of necessity or choice the new American dream appears to no longer be to own a single-family home, but to rent one. Comprising 25 million households and a market valuation size of between $4.2 and $4.6 trillion, Single-Family Rental is the fastest growing and most rapidly evolving sector of the housing market.  This session looks at the latest trends and iterations of single-family rental housing including the strides of institutional SFR; new (and unconventional) incumbents entering the sector; and the new strategies and business models for financing, acquiring, developing, renovating, leasing and operating single family rental homes.


3:00 PM - 4:10 PM 2.5 | THE ELEVENTH HOUR: Can Homebuilders Innovate Fast Enough to House America?

HOSTED BY
  • Laurie Hawkes, Principal, Hawkes Insites
  • Ivy Zelman, Principal/Chief Executive Officer, Zelman & Associates
FEATURING
  • SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *
  • Sheryl Palmer, Chairman and CEO, Taylor Morrison Home Corporation
  • Mark Wolf, Founder & CEO, AHV Communities

We continue to face a severe housing shortage, with home construction per household near its lowest level in 60 years. The lack of affordable housing is a national crisis, with home prices rising at twice the rate of wage growth and more than 50% of all renters spending more than 30% of their income on rent. While multifamily and high-end housing have recovered post-2008, since that time homebuilders have faced skyrocketing costs due to increased regulations and slower permitting processes during the Obama administration, only to be hit with a number of tariffs on source materials during the Trump administration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of construction materials has risen by 23.7% since 2009. Adding to the crisis, the construction industry is suffering from a severe shortage of workers, with a potential personnel shortfall of 1.5 million by 2020. As we watched the packed ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) vans in Home Depot parking lots last summer, one can only wonder what numbers have been lost due to the ongoing crackdown on undocumented workers with high construction skills. 


At the same time, the homebuilding industry has become more concentrated, with few big national players dominating major markets. Due to sheer size, the large builders are able to navigate the tight labor market and bring down building material costs due to volume. With all of the advantages of size and momentum, why aren’t they building more affordable housing? While demographic shifts show that new households want smaller and more affordable homes, homebuilders just can’t make the math work. As inventory continues to remain tight and interest rates decline, house prices will only continue to increase beyond the reach of most aspiring homebuyers. Where is the point of break-even, and where is the breaking point? As always, where there is chaos, there is profit, and at this “Eleventh Hour,” there has never been a greater need for homebuilding innovation from the way that homes are built to new partnerships in homebuilding ventures. This session looks at homebuilding innovation, new markets for increased-density attached and smaller detached homes, and recent ventures to team up with Single Family Operators in building-to-rent.



4:10 PM - 5:30 PM 2.6 | OBSOLESSONS: The Future of Buying, Selling and Investing in Residential Real Estate

HOSTED BY
  • Toni Moss, Founder and CEO, AmeriCatalyst, LLC
  • Rick Sharga, President and CEO, CJ PATRICK COMPANY
FEATURING
  • Gary Beasley, Co-Founder | CEO, ROOFSTOCK
  • Deborah Bradley, President, Bungalo at Amherst Holdings
  • OTHER SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED, *

Buckminster Fuller, one of the greatest architects, inventors and visionaries of all time said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” This is exactly what these speakers have done. The speed of transition and convergence in the way in which we buy, sell and invest in residential real estate cannot be understated. For the first time the real estate industry will be driven by the consumer, and not the real estate professional. What are the implications of a consumer-driven industry? The goal of all new disruptors is to offer consumers certainty, convenience and cost-effectiveness. New marketplaces, such as Roofstock, have pioneered and revolutionized investments in Single Family Rental. Bungalo is taking the home buying and selling process even further to encompass how we live in our homes. OpenDoor established the iBuying model in 2014, the “i” standing for “instant”, a model which  leverages digital technology to reduce transactional property costs. To date, the model has been growing in market share at almost 25% per year, despite the fact that sellers are charged a “convenience fee” of 6% to 9.5%. This session features the firms leading the ongoing revolution in home buying, selling and investing. Now, if only there was more inventory…