Change is inevitable, and in the complex world of commercial real estate new associations are being formed by industry professionals to address specific needs or serve particular groups. For some of the already existing real estate associations, whose services may overlap the new groups some, this may not be such welcome news. Nevertheless, when a new organization has a more narrowly defined focus, its chances of usurping the role of a braodly based association are slim.

Two recent examples of new groups being formed are the Multifamily Housing Institute and the Eastern Chapter of the Real Estate Investment Advisory Council.

Set up to gather data to help in the promotion of a stable, liquid and efficient market in debt and equity capital for the apartment sector, with emphasis on housing affordable to lower-income families, the Multifamily Housing Institute, based in Washington, D.C., will focus on creating a national data base of financial performance data on multifamily properties. According to its executive director, Matt Slepin, the creation of the institute was a key recommendation in 1992 of the National Task Force on Financing Affordable Housing.

An anticipated result of the data base will be to reduce the overall cost of debt and equity financing for multifamily properties and to streamline the structuring of multifamily housing transactions.

The institute also plans to be a forum in which multifamily market participants can meet to discuss ways to do business more efficiently and to finance rental housing. Members include lenders, equity investors, owners, associations, academics and public agencies involved in apartment financing.

The Real Estate Investment Advisory Council (REIAC) was founded to provide investment advisers with a forum for discussion of issues challenging their discipline. "We think that the candid sharing of insights and experiences builds foundations for wiser and more prudent investing and allows us to better serve our financial intermediary, private investor and pensionfund clients," says Gerald S. Monash, CCIM, Cornerstone Realty Advisors Inc., Atlanta, president of the Eastern Chapter.

REIAC was originally founded in Los Angeles in 1990. The Eastern Chapter was formed in Atlanta in September 1994 and, according to Monash, attending that first meeting were 56 senior-level principals representing 38 life insurance companies, investment advisory firms, REITs, banks and private investor/developers. "The 'Principal Only' nature of REIAC has sparked significant national interest among the real players in our industry," Monash says.

For those seeking more information about these new associations, this issue of NREI carries a question-and-answer feature with Matt Slepin of the Multi-family Housing Institute, while the March issue will include a Q&A with Jerry Monash of REIAC.