Founder and CEO of the Steinbridge Group Tawan Davis arrived in Philadelphia with a mission: to take distressed properties and transform them into attainable homes, enabling working Philadelphians to start families.
For decades now, the rental housing market has seen steady growth, with several factors contributing to this shift – chief among them tight lending standards that enable fewer would-be buyers to qualify. Meanwhile, millennial college graduates are saddled with student loan debt, meaning that taking on a mortgage is impractical at best and impossible for many. In addition, with Baby Boomers returning to the city in droves, many former homeowners are coming to the conclusion that they would rather live somewhere where maintenance is taken care of by someone else.
However, though a healthy market presents significant opportunities for developers, from the tenant’s perspective things are not so rosy, particularly for those living on a low income. Although developers are scrambling to build rental apartments, there remains a distinct lack of attainable housing, with many developers focusing on creating pricey apartments in order to maximize profits.
As part of his vision for the Steinbridge Group, Tawan Davis acquired more than 200 properties in districts across Philadelphia, rebuilding them and offering them for rent. The Steinbridge Group let these properties to tenants earning around 65% of the area median income, which at the time equated to approximately $61,500 per year for a family of four, on average. The Steinbridge Group priced properties so that rent consumed no more than a third of tenants’ incomes without subsidies, meeting the standard measure of affordability.
Tawan Davis has devised an innovative new model to help provide a long-term solution to the acute shortages of attainable, family-friendly properties affecting major American cities. With millions of people working in and around American cities, Tawan Davis points out that these people should also be able to live there. Firefighters, postal workers, and teachers are among the hardest hit by housing price increases. The Steinbridge Group is committed to providing a solution, presenting high-quality, attainable properties to ease the strain for struggling families.
Some five years after arriving in Philadelphia from New York, Tawan Davis has shifted gears, embarking on a second mission after his huge success in increasing availability of workforce housing to rent. The Steinbridge Group started an initiative that enables working-class families to build generational wealth, strengthening the communities they live in.
The Steinbridge Group aims to not only make workforce housing more available for working-class families to rent but also help them to become homeowners, enabling them to create generational wealth and driving economic growth in local communities.
Tawan Davis aims to achieve this by turning his tenants into homeowners. Partnering with PNC Bank and Fierce Realty Corporation owner Deborah Spence, the Steinbridge Group aims to help working-class families build generational wealth by buying the properties they already rent.
Tawan Davis selected Deborah Spence as his broker partner for two reasons. First, she is one of a relatively small pool of Black women real estate brokers who own their own firms. Second, he recognized her revolutionary fervor in her approach to homeownership and making it fairer for everyone to purchase real estate and improve their lives. Getting a foot on the property ladder can be extremely challenging for many, particularly those who have very limited support and resources. However, the program is designed to empower working-class families through education and support. In addition to presenting first-time homebuyer and financial management workshops, Deborah Spence also organizes educational seminars at open houses, enabling prospective buyers to not only view the property but also learn about financial literacy and home ownership while they are there.