Henry G. Cisneros, former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and executive chairman of CityView, will keynote the Apartment Finance Today Conference, March 30–April 1 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

The celebrated housing, business, and city government leader will highlight a high-voltage lineup of multifamily owners, developers, and capital partners working out high-level plans and in-the-trenches tactics to weather the economic storm and position apartment properties large and small for a sustainable marathon run to recovery in the future.

In a luncheon keynote presentation, March 31, Cisneros plans to address a wide-ranging agenda of issues for survival amid our era's most hostile economies. His remarks will focus on the importance of apartments and rental housing, particularly in the throes of the broader housing and economic crisis.

“A countercyclical balancing of for-rent versus for-sale housing needs to have a sound, strategic plan,” says Cisneros. “For-rent should not take second place to homeownership.”

Additionally, he will draw on his direct experience with CityView companies, which work with the nation's home-building leaders to develop and offer homes priced for families with average incomes. A number of CityView initiatives in planning will be multifamily, for-rent properties.

“For-rent is the part of the housing continuum most matched up to the natural demographic changes under way, with immigrants continuing to make their way into gateway cities and not in the position to make the move into homeownership,” Cisneros says. “Cities have to do a better job at planning growth in for-rent apartment properties into their strategies. NIMBYism and a prejudice toward ownership have made affordable for-rent options the most-needed form of housing.”

Cisneros also plans to focus insight on what he sees as the dynamics and forces at work regarding the access to capital sources for apartment development. As stresses to credit and liquidity ease in the coming months, institutional capital may begin to move more deliberately into residential real estate investment trusts and other investment opportunities, he says.

Another highlight of the event will be Apartment Finance Today's “Annual Forecast for Rental Demand” with Linwood Thompson, managing director of Marcus & Millichap. Thompson will give a fast-paced look at what to expect in 2009 and 2010 from apartment markets across the nation.

Attendance for the conference is reserved for people who are primarily owners and developers of apartments. The early-bird registration rate, which expires Feb. 15, is $645. Past-year attendee rate is $600, and regular registration is $745.