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Walker & Dunlop Taps Gilmore to Execute Affordable Multifamily Lending in New York

Private Equity Showing Interest in Funding for Middle-Income Housing According to Gilmore
June 11, 2018
John Gilmore IV has joined commercial real estate services firm Walker & Dunlop as a senior vice president and managing director within its multifamily financing division.

In his new role, Gilmore is tasked with growing the firm’s affordable multifamily loan pipeline and will be based out of Walker & Dunlop’s New York City office. The Bethesda-based firm is a national leader in the sector, last year ranking the #1 DUS® Lender by Fannie Mae and the #3 Multifamily Approved Seller / Servicer by Freddie Mac.

Gilmore has more than a decade of experience structuring financing deals including tax-exempt bonds, federal and state tax credits and structured credit facilities.

He spent the last 11 years at KeyBank, most recently as vice president and senior relationship manager in the community development and investment group within KeyBank Real Estate Capital, where he originated nearly $1 billion in new mortgages by expanding the bank’s affordable housing activity across the country.

Gilmore tells CoStar News he began first at KeyBank in fund management, working in the midst of 2006’s bull market, but once the market corrected, he moved into asset recovery.

"It was a real trial by fire – living through all stages of the market. I learned in three years what would have taken five to 10 years under regular circumstances. Most folks had never seen anything like it," he said. "After the market turned I moved to NYC to be a portfolio manager for Keybank and a producer on its balance sheet. I led Key Bank’s multifamily affordable housing division and became very passionate about the space from seeing what had gone on in the market."

Gilmore was drawn to Walker & Dunlop’s approach to the sector. Rather than looking at problems through a banker’s lens, Gilmore is able to look at ways to add value and fund solutions to projects with affordable housing components.

"My primary focus is the how – how to drive affordable housing executions in New York City and nationally," he explained.

In financing affordable housing initiatives in New York City, Gilmore has plenty to tackle. That’s because not all definitions of affordable housing need are funded to the same degree, he said. While there are plenty of financing options to tackle housing for low-income families, housing for working families and mixed or middle-income families are not adequately addressed in the market.

"I think New York City is one market, and I include the outer boroughs and some parts of New Jersey, with the largest disparity across the country in regards to quality housing for working families. We do a great job for low-income housing with HPD, HDC and various nonprofits. But the big opportunity in my opinion is for middle income and mixed income," said Gilmore.

He continued, "When you see a tenant at 61 percent AMI, just above federal guidelines of 60 percent AMI and below, there is no federally-subsidized option to help them with housing costs. And for families making 80 to 100 percent AMI in NYC, that household should not have to pay exorbitant amounts for housing."

A family of three meeting 100-percent AMI in 2018 makes $93,900, according to NYC.gov.

As one possible path, Gilmore is looking to creative structures typical of private equity investors. Private equity is among the new market entrants showing interest to finance the space.

"The biggest opportunity of unmet need is in the preservation and maintenance of space for middle income families in NYC, in other markets the need is not as dire, they don’t have a 40-50% disparity between affordable and regular housing," he explains. "The opportunity I see is in working with new market entrants and looking at creative ways of doing that. Private equity funds are looking to raise through pension providers, looking at ways to source pension fund capital on these projects without using a federal subsidy."



Diana Bell, New York City Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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