Except for a brief gig with a hedge fund focused on South American real estate acquisition, Matt Greer's jobs in the multifamily industry have all been with Miami-based Carlisle Development Group. On Jan. 1, Greer became CEO of Carlisle, Florida's largest affordable housing developer. Starting as an analyst in 2004, Greer experienced “a steep learning curve” during his ascension from that position to chief operating officer in 2005 and finally to CEO. It's a promotion blueprint he wants to emulate across the Carlisle ranks as the company takes advantage of value-added deals now emerging in the once over-heated Florida market.
Q: What appealed to you about this position?
A: I really like the art and science of trying to build a high-performing organization. This role is the culmination of that—really trying to set a vision for the organization and then helping to put people in the organization [who will] accomplish that vision. You are always relying on your people to get things done and make you perform. We have a very young, very intelligent group. I want to give them the ability to be better and the motivation to make the organization better.
Q: What do you see as a significant challenge for the multifamily industry in the coming year?
A: Clearly, we have a bit of hangover in terms of supply. The credit markets being roiled is a related issue but also compounds the problem. The struggles in the credit markets could outlive the oversupply, or they could unnaturally extend the oversupply. Especially in our markets, there is continued struggle to reconcile higher living expenses, higher property prices, and skyrocketing utility costs when people's incomes are not growing at a commensurate pace.
Q: How would you describe the multifamily industry in terms of career opportunities?
A: The real estate industry as a whole has to do a much better job of trying to create an opportunity for entry-level people to come in and launch a career. Unfortunately, there's no perception that there is an easy on-ramp to joining multifamily housing organizations and building a career. We are trying to recruit people who are high-upside people and create a framework of IT and professional resources and mentoring in the organization to leverage those individuals and give them the opportunity to grow.
Q: What is the best advice anyone gave you about your career?
A: To have patience. We all want to grow aggressively, and for my entire career in multifamily housing, it has been a momentum market. It is tempting to jump in and make money by buying something today and flipping it tomorrow. Try to avoid that temptation and bring something unique to the market—that was the great advice I received. flat, and make sure you are hitting solid singles and doubles; allow the home runs to come to you naturally.