AFIRE Podcast 2024.04: Paul Bernard on Housing and Affordability

Affordable housing may be the most important issue facing the commercial real estate industry today. Statistics show a shortage of more than seven million homes in the US alone.

More than half a million people are experiencing homelessness, and high interest rates and a growing population are making housing more expensive for more people.

So—how do we solve the problem?

What options are available to those of us who are investors, developers, builders, owners, and operators?

To get some answers on the current housing situation—and future-focused solutions—AFIRE CEO and podcast host Gunnar Branson recently sat down with Paul Bernard, president and CEO of Affordable Homes & Communities, a nonprofit developer with a focus on housing creation in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Bernard argues that the housing crisis is partly caused by barriers to new construction, leading to high homelessness rates, high housing costs and insufficient supply. 

Affordable housing is not a commodity, Bernard says. Instead, it’s an asset class where developers and investors can follow concrete steps to alleviate housing availability issues and still find returns. According to Bernard, building more affordable developments requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, starting with a new narrative that will change public opinion of affordable housing, tax credits and renewed, innovative, problem-solving partnerships with nonprofits, for-profits and the public sector.



The publisher of the AFIRE Podcast is not engaged in providing tax, accounting, or legal advice through this publication. No content published in the AFIRE Podcast is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Some information included in the AFIRE Podcast has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable, though the publisher is not responsible for guaranteeing the accuracy of third-party information. The opinions expressed in the AFIRE Podcast are those of its respective contributors and sources and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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The AFIRE Podcast with Gunnar Branson is the official, multiple-award-winning podcast of AFIRE, the association for international real estate investors focused on commercial property in the United States.

Hosted by AFIRE CEO Gunnar Branson, the podcast features informative and in-depth conversations with experts across the full spectrum of real estate, investment, sustainability, economics, geopolitics, and urbanism with a focus on helping each other become Better Investors, Better Leaders, and Better Global Citizens. To learn more, visit


Benjamin van Loon, Communications Director | +1 202 312 1405

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