Throw out everything you thought you knew about the capital markets: Today’s owners and developers are facing a new world order in their search for the best debt and equity deals.

At the 2010 Apartment Finance Today Conference, running April 12-14, some of the industry’s brightest luminaries will shine a spotlight on the volatile capital markets, helping you to cut through the fog of recession and find the next best execution. And for the first time, the conference will feature panels dedicated specifically to distressed assets, offering strategies on identifying the best distressed deals, and how best to finance them.

New to the event this year is a general session focused on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a subject that may be the greatest source of conjecture, and anxiety, in the multifamily industry today. The government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) effectively own the multifamily market, but it’s a fragile efficiency, and any disruption in their business models could have huge ramifications.

The session, “The Government, the GSEs, and the Future,” will be moderated by National Multi Housing Council president Doug Bibby. Panelists include former Fannie Mae Chief Credit Officer Ed Pinto; former Fannie Mae multifamily division chief Thomas White; co-founder and CEO of Wood Partners, Jerry Durkin; and Tom Booher, head of PNC Real Estate’s multifamily division.

“There is literally nothing more crucial to the future of multifamily housing than a determination of what the secondary market will look like in the years ahead,” Bibby says. “We'll hear from a panel of experts who bring a variety of perspectives to this all-important discussion.”

Later that day, Tom Bozzuto, founder and chairman of Greenbelt, Md.-based apartment owner and developer The Bozzuto Group, will deliver a luncheon keynote focusing on recession survival strategies. Bozzuto will also look ahead, discussing demographics and future demand to show how firms can best prepare for the next upturn.

Indeed, survival will be another strong theme of the conference. The second and third days of the conference will offer separate panels exploring resident retention strategies, renegotiating with lenders, and ways to maximize NOI. There will also be individual roundtable discussions dedicated to four “recession-resistant” product sectors, including the student, seniors, military, and affordable housing niches.

Access to capital will, of course, be an overriding theme. An equity panel including John Fenoglio will launch into an in-depth discussion on where the best equity deals can be found. A separate track on construction financing, anchored by Steve Wendel from DBBM and Cathy Pharis from Wells Fargo, will detail how the FHA’s Sec. 221(d)(4) program is changing, and what you can do to capture those funds. Sessions focused on adapting to today’s new underwriting realities, the small loan marketplace, and alternative capital sources will also key borrowers in to who the most active lenders are, and how to best position your deal to find the lowest rates and most generous terms.

Additional confirmed speakers include: Dave Woodward, CEO of the Laramar Group; Thomas Shelton, president of Western National Property Management; David Durning, managing director of Prudential Mortgage Capital; Guy Johnson, president of Johnson Capital; David Dewar of Trillium Residential; Lee Harris, president of Cohen-Esrey; Jeff Adler, CEO of Multifamily Indexed Equity; Doug Walker of UDR; Rick Wolf of Greystone; Jerry Anderson from Alliant Capital; Rich Kelly, vice president of LumaCorp; Samuel “Trip” Stephens, chief investment officer of ZOM; and Brent Little from the Buckingham Cos.

More information on the conference, which runs from April 12-14 at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., can be found at