FHFA Principal Economist, Andrew Leventis, highlights the Washington D.C. Small Group Dinner

To see the presentation materials presented by Andrew Leventis, Principal Economist at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) click here

Just a short walk from the White House, a group of D.C. area members of SPIRE on November 29 were able to network with one another and with Stanford alumnus Andrew Leventis, who has served with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) since 2005. As the principal economist he is responsible for the FHFA House Price Index.  It came together at the first Small Group Dinner for SPIRE in theWashington,D.C., area.

“Every part of the real estate industry is represented in the SPIRE membership in D.C.,” says Philip Porter, Stanford ‘91, who is Vice President at Enterprise Community Investment Inc., and who organized the event, assisted by Cary Kadlecek and Bruce Kirsch, fellow Stanford grads also involved D.C. real estate.

“For example, there were eight different sectors of the real estate industry represented,” Mr. Porter says. “We had real estate developers, property managers, private real estate investors … we had someone who was working with Freddie Mac, folks in real estate finance advisory services – and one lawyer.”

Like previous dinners in Chicago, Southern Californiaand the Bay Area, this latest Small Group Dinner provided an evening out with excellent food and company, affording SPIRE members a more intimate setting to connect with one another and hear from industry leaders. The dinner was held in a private room at the Equinox Restaurant, which is famous for using locally sourced ingredients for its famed New American dishes and for recently hosting President and Michelle Obama for a private birthday dinner.

“At this D.C. dinner, because there were about a dozen of us, we were able to sit at one large table and carry on quite an extended conversation as a group,” says Mr. Porter.  “It was just a very positive networking opportunity.”

While SPIRE’s Small Group Dinners are known for the restaurants where they are held and the cuisine, it’s really all about connecting Stanford alumni with one another.

“I am an entrepreneur starting a new real estate business here inWashington,D.C.,” says Charlotte Perry, Stanford ’81, founder of the real estate startup LUXbnb LLC of Washington, D.C.

“I didn’t approach this with a real estate background,” she says.  “My background was 15 years in medical diagnostics.  Most of that time I was with startup companies.”

Ms. Perry says that networking is critical to her success in starting not just a new business, but pioneering a new concept – linking visitors to luxury accommodations in private homes instead of hotels.

“I wanted a friendly group of people in real estate to reach out to and I knew fellow alums would want me to be successful,” she says in explaining why she has joined SPIRE.

“The dinner was very encouraging to me,” Ms. Perry says. “They were all pretty excited and very interested in what I was doing. One of them said, ‘This is great. Once you establish the gold standard here inWashington, then you can take it to other cities.’ It was great to get affirmation that I’m on the right track here.”

Guest of honor Andrew Leventis holds a Stanford BA in economics. In addition to Stanford, he earned both his Ph.D. and MA degrees in economics fromPrincetonUniversity.  His FHFA House Price Index is watched in the real estate industry as carefully as the Standard and Poors/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

At the dinner he talked off the record with the SPIRE members.

“He shared some perspective on home prices, valuations, as well as mortgage default statistics,” says Mr. Porter, careful to keep confidences but wanting to provide attendees with an overview.

Stanford is well woven into the real estate fabric in the Nation’s Capital region, Mr. Porter says.

“All of these SPIRE events allow folks to have contacts with individuals at senior levels throughout the real estate industry which can be helpful in many ways,” he says.

“Cary and Bruce and I work together to facilitate the SPIRE activities in the D.C. area,” adds Mr. Porter. “We’ve created aWashington,D.C., subgroup within SPIRE’s LinkedIn social media group. We’re hoping that using social media for this network will … facilitate our getting together in person. All of us are eager to connect with SPIRE folks toward enhancing our SPIRE experience.”


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