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Yesterday, we wrapped up our first Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference, or BMAC for short. 500 joined us in Washington, DC for two days to hear from 30 of the sector?s top execs. (That's only 16 folks per speaker. About the same number of recent college grads that have to share an apartment these days to afford the rent.)
Former CBO director and McCain advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin
Despite rampant investor optimism, our speakers echoed one concern about the apartment sector: uncertainty. Former CBO director and McCain advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin warned that this uncertainty over the looming fiscal cliff and debt crisis could cause market turmoil reminiscent of the dark ages of 2008. And if leaders on the Hill don't act soon, they may not get another chance for a while, Doug says.

Delta Associates CEO Greg Leisch
Our second keynote, Delta Associates CEO Greg Leisch, stressed that the apartment sector is actually a beneficiary of current market conditions: uncertainty is causing people to rent rather than own; as a result, apartments represent a better investment than any other CRE asset class, or even stocks and bonds. And things could be looking even better: According to Greg, the nationwide apartment vacancy rate of 4.8% could drop 20 bps in 2013, meaning a bump in rents that would keep multifamily a healthy investment for years to come.
NY Times bestselling author and American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman Ornstein
NY Times bestselling author and American Enterprise Institute star Norm Ornstein says policy makers are ?the most dysfunctional? he's seen in a 42-year career, and further infighting could have dire consequences—like another credit downgrade. But he hopes President Obama and NJ Gov. Chris Christie's bromance on Sandy will lead to more peace between red and blue.
BMAC Speed Networking
Ever seen speed networking before? For any newbies (or veterans who are still curious), here's a video from Day 1, where 100 of the 500 attendees worked the room with two-minute rapid-fire schmooze sessions. Read more from BMAC in our DC issues here and here.