The Multifamily Housing Institute (MFHI) is a non-profit, 501c3 research and education organization that was originally created in 1994 with the help of some of the industry’s largest and most successful lenders, owners, managers, and investors.

Congress laid the foundation for the Institute when it authorized a National Interagency Task Force on Multifamily Housing. The Institute was founded during the early 1990s credit crunch and commercial real estate recession as a result of the National Task Force on Financing Affordable Housing. After meeting in 1990-1992, some of the members of group founded The Institute in 1993.

The Mission of the Institute is to — Foster a more liquid, efficient and stable market for debt and equity capital for multifamily housing. The Institute addresses the varied needs of multifamily housing, including affordable housing by providing an impartial source of financial performance data and providing a forum in which industry participants can work together to develop industry standards and benchmarks.

The Institute focused its initial work on developing AptData — the information source contemplated by the Task Force and Congress as essential to the long term stability and efficiency of the multifamily financing market. The Institute is the nonprofit steward of AptData.

Funding for MFHI was originally generated through a Fannie Mae Challenge Grant and broad industry participation. Price Waterhouse completed an initial feasibility study on the applicability of the various technical options in 1995.  Dr. Shaun Brady then joined a working group with Midland Loan Services and a number of firms to complete the initial system requirements in April 1996 and shortly thereafter was asked to build and run institute. The Institute then began raising money to build AptData and became an affiliate of the Urban Land Institute in October 1996.

The Multifamily Housing Institute was governed by a 15-member Board of Directors, representing many of the largest organizations serving the multifamily industry. The Institute ultimately raised $5 million in capital to develop AptData and fund its operations from member dues and significant contributions from the following four major sponsors in October 1996:

  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $1.5 million, matching the private sector’s initial contribution to the Institute.
  • The Urban Land Institute invested $350,000.
  • Fannie Mae invested $100,000.
  • Freddie Mac invested $100,000.

The most difficult part of the technical design was finding a way to answer the following question: “How can AptData maintain confidentiality of contributor data while providing enough useful information for users?” The solution is covered by a unique patent (US 6,633,875) obtained by Dr. Brady and the related technical architecture and methods he developed which only allow users to see results aggregated from 3 or more properties from three or more data providers — and never release information on individual assets or data providers.

Unfortunately, due to a disruption in half of its funding from our primary sponsor – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – during a HUD reorganization, and the resulting loss of access to a quarter of its affordable housing data, MFHI was forced to suspend operation. As of January 2017, MFHI was reinstated by the IRS as a 501c3 and is working with prior and future members to resume operations and pursue its original mission.