David Iwashita, the Founder of Naturally Affordable Housing, LLC is a native of San Diego, raised in Coronado. His 16+ year experience in the real estate business includes financial analysis/underwriting, entitlements, preparing project scopes, schedules and budgets, obtaining traditional & creative financing, project management, supervision to completion, and ongoing asset management. David has underwritten over a billion dollars worth of real estate projects and has overseen capitalization of over 120 million dollars worth of projects.
David is currently focused on naturally affordable rental units. The health of the communities need balance amenities and housing for our workforce to maintain a healthy regional economy. These projects are near and dear to his heart as his family members were previously displaced due to the World War II internment camps. This community passion is enhanced by the drive to change development methods to be more sustainable. He is looking beyond the next generation to how his actions can make the community better.
John O’Connor is a San Diego native who continues a family legacy of entrepreneurship community advocacy and volunteerism resulting in a symbiotic relationship with real estate professionals, community leaders and politicians. He has an educational background in organizational leadership with expertise in both public and private partnerships and high level negotiations.
John has been recognized for his ability to manage complex day-to-day operations while maintaining relationships and growing strategic initiatives. He is well versed in presentations, accustomed to addressing clients, vendors, partners, shareholders and corporate board of directors, John has been invited as a guest speaker and/or panelist by organizations such as Civic San Diego, Urban Land Institute and Business Improvement District Alliance to name a few. John’s ability to focus energies, collaborate with developers, politicians, and community groups, and execute ideas and plans have set him apart as a valuable development partner and community influencer. As a real estate investor, entrepreneur, and patriarch of his family, John has become an expert at multitasking, prioritizing, and communicating clearly, succinctly and timely. His special talent is maintaining efficiencies and keeping teams and projects focused and on course.
John currently serves as President of El Cajon Blvd Business Improvement Association and chairman of the economic development arm which represents over 1000 businesses and oversees countless developments in North Park, Normal and City Heights. He was also an active participant in the recent North Park community plan update and successfully advocated for higher densities in key areas to help with San Diego’s housing crisis and climate action plan.
The housing affordability gap in San Diego is among the highest in California, with the average household paying 35% of their income for housing and 25% of the population spends half of their income on rent. The median rent and housing prices in San Diego continued to rise in 2019 and the average rent hit a record high of $1,743* and the average home price is now $602,153 which requires $126,471 in income annually to qualify for a mortgage.** This disparity of availability versus affordability, in our opinion leads us to an opportunity to make a change in our San Diego Communities. This opportunity has become the mandate for Naturally Affordable Housing (NAH). The unaffordable high rent growth in lower-quality assets is simply caused by an inadequate supply.
Naturally Affordable Housing (NAH) principals, John O’Connor and David Iwashita, are long term pioneers of North Park and the Mid- City areas of San Diego. John is a third-generation community organizer. The El Cajon Blvd. Business Improvement Association began over 25 years ago, and the O’Connor family were key players in the association’s development and success. David was a pioneer in the resurgence of the El Cajon Blvd. and North Park area with his contribution to the re-development of the Lafayette Hotel in 2010, and he continues to own and operate this stunning historic property today. The NAH principals took a risk in 2017 and purchased 4233 Kansas with the idea that a property close to the transit hub would be an ideal beginning for affordable housing projects to serve the needs of the community to which they have dedicated their time, talent, and treasures.
The City of San Diego has been identified as one of the least affordable cities in the United States. Local leaders have described the issue as “the single greatest threat to our region’s economy.” NAH strives to provide a solution to the lack of affordable housing. A solution for low income residents and for those with special needs, but also for moderate-income working families and young professionals. NAH’s mandate is to accommodate San Diego’s growing population and continued economic development. NAH desires to serve the production needs of the present as well as the future.
NAH has identified that the workforce housing sector has indeed outperformed the overall multifamily market in recent years with relatively low vacancy rates and above-average rent growth. Healthy market performance, especially here in San Diego, has attracted significant investor interest in these rental communities that are affordable for low-to median-income families. In addition, slow wage growth over the past decade has contributed to a high number of potential renters combined with an extreme lack of new supply means strong and sustained demand for workforce housing apartments is expected to continue in 2020 and beyond.