Standard Communities’ Jeffrey Jaeger on Affordable Housing in CA
By Joseph Rauch
Standard Communities is a CRE investment and development company that operates across the country. Based in Los Angeles, Co-Founder and Principal Jeffrey Jaeger has commissioned several large multifamily projects in California, particularly in affordable housing. Because Jaeger will be one of our CA market experts at Connect LA, we wanted to offer a preview of his insights by asking him a few questions. Here are his answers:
Connect CRE: How has Standard Communities navigated the recent turbulent economic conditions?
Jeffrey Jaeger: Although sales are down across the industry because the math for buying apartments makes less sense now due to the fast rise in interest rates, we have a strong track record of thriving in unpredictable environments. Scott Alter and I founded Standard Communities in 2008 in the depths of the housing crisis, so we have been creative and able to adapt to the constant change in economic conditions since day one.
Our speed to execution is one of our greatest competitive advantages. We are invested in the future—we have a large and talented team of seasoned industry professionals ready to be deployed for the next opportunity at any moment. With our size and scale now, we can access capital and capital partners many of our peers cannot. We’re better positioned to look for expansion and gain market share in a market downturn. Compared to our market-rate competitors, most of our portfolio is financed with long-term, fixed-rate debt, and the life cycle on deals is much shorter.
To keep up with the volume we have been seeing, we have developed three specialized groups that each focus on a specific product: Acquisition and Redevelopment, Essential Housing, and New Construction. These groups facilitate full-blown teams that can deliver our targets. We believe that Acquisition and Redevelopment will continue to be challenging in this higher interest-rate environment. Because of that, we expect our Essential Housing and New Construction groups will continue to add to the growth of the business and supplement what may or may not happen in the redevelopment space.
Connect CRE: As an organization focused on affordable housing, how has California’s latest push to provide more attainable housing affected the company or your plans?
Jeffrey Jaeger: While affordable housing has become a national challenge, California remains one of the epicenters when it comes to this problem. We currently have over 20 properties and nearly 5,000 units of affordable and workforce housing in California, and we are always evaluating and looking for new properties to add to our portfolio so we can continue to help solve the affordable housing crisis.
What makes Standard Communities stand out is our creativity and ability to deploy capital to help generate a meaningful change in neighborhoods across the country by adding value for residents, cities, and investors. The amount of pride, the added vibrancy and the quality of life drive us to continue to innovate and deliver high-quality affordable and workforce housing to those that need it.
Connect CRE: Can you talk a bit about your civic involvement as an affordable housing advocate?
Jeffrey Jaeger: When Scott Alter and I started Standard, we asked ourselves, “How do we make this world better than we found it?” That’s when my passion for affordable housing really started. More than 500,000 people are unhoused in the United States on any given night. There is no state or county in this country where a renter working full-time at the prevailing minimum wage can afford a one-bedroom apartment. Delivering high-quality affordable and workforce housing is a challenging and complex problem, but it’s essential to the strength and well-being of our nation. At Standard Communities, we believe housing is a pathway to human prosperity, and we’re committed to continuing to provide high-quality, sustainable homes that offer people a sense of community and the opportunity to build a better future.
I am also a current Board Member and Co-Founder of Housing on Merit, a California-based non-profit focused on creating a bridge to permanent affordable housing for vulnerable populations.
Meet CRE experts like Red Oak Capital Holdings CEO Gary Bechtel by joining us in person at Connect LA on May 3 at the Hotel Indigo.