Fannie Mae, UW Hosting Tech Leaders to Address Affordable Housing Crisis

Fannie Mae is hosting a half-day conference in Seattle tomorrow with the Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER), bringing together innovators, housing leaders, and academics — in person and by livestream — to explore how to solve affordable housing problems.


James Young, the director of the University of Washington-based WCRER, said he jumped at the chance to work on this event with Fannie Mae.

“When you look at the tech we all use today, like smart phones, it came from collaborations between industry people and people at universities,” Young told Mortgage Media in a phone call leading up to the event. “Any time tech innovation has happened, it’s been through that process. The idea is, we can bring technology to bear on affordable housing.”

Young said that technology can create demand for affordable housing, but also provides the tools to address the supply imbalances. “Supply can’t possibly keep up with demand. So how do we speed these things up to solve affordable housing problems?”

To that end, they are bringing together the tech entrepreneurs with people from all areas of housing to have conversations on how to speed up the housing supply process.

The conference, “Innovate Housing 2019”, is part of a series of Fannie Mae-sponsored events, aiming to bring together representatives from different areas of the industry to examine how innovations in the industry can create a more equitable marketplace for renters and homebuyers, especially the underserved. A September event was held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Urban Institute, called Unlocking the Market: Big Ideas for Local Housing Challenges.

Along with Fannie Mae executives Kimberly Johnson, Terry Theologides, Scott Hallworth, Jonathan Lawless, and Steve James, the event will feature a variety of leaders and innovators. For its keynote address, former Washington state governor Christine Gregoire of Challenge Seattle will talk with Jane Broom of Microsoft Philanthropies (which recently made a $500M investment in affordable housing) about how tech is playing a key role in creating more housing opportunities and building stronger communities.

Other confirmed topics include The Future of Home Transactions, The Future of Home Construction, The Future of Home Finance and The Future of Borrower Data and Housing Finance.

You can watch a livestream of the event here:

Speakers represent leading innovators that are shaping the future of home transactions, construction, finance, and borrower data. Leaders from Bellwether Housing, Divvy, Fannie Mae, FlyHomes, Katerra, Reali, RedfinNow, and Spruce will explore innovations that could transform home buying, financing, and construction, making it faster, cheaper, safer, and easier. Privacy law expert Peter McLaughlin and Fannie Mae’s Chief Data Officer, Scott Hallworth, will discuss what can be done to ensure innovation can coexist with emerging standards of data privacy. The event will close with an Innovation Marketplace featuring startups that are disrupting the housing industry.