Welcome to the annual AHF 50 issue. Our lists of the top affordable housing developers and owners, companies completing the most acquisitions, and those working on the most substantial rehabilitations offer a one-of-a-kind look at the industry.

Through the developers list (page 20), we can see how many developments and units the top companies began construction on in 2015. This year’s AHF 50 developers, collective­ly, started 17,653 affordable housing units in 226 developments last year.

The lists are based on a voluntary survey that the firms complete, and through the surveys we learn more than the numbers. We can also spot trends. This year, we saw a good number of firms saying they’re working on market-rate projects, often for the first time after focusing exclusively on affordable housing developments. We also learned that rising development costs are the developers’ top concern this year.

The AHF 50 is a way to see what your friends and competitors are doing and to gauge the state of the industry. It’s a connection point. Through our pages, whether it’s the

AHF 50, capital markets, or Readers’ Choice Awards issue, we want to help people who work in affordable housing stay connected with one another. I have quickly learned just how much a relationship business this is.

We also want to help you stay connected in person. Let me briefly plug the dates of our upcoming conferences. AHF Live: The Affordable Housing Developers Summit is Nov. 15–17 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Many of the AHF 50 firms are there each year, and if you’ve been, you know it’s a must-attend event.

But before then, we’ll have our second-annual AHF Live Forum, May 9–11, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Va. It’s a smaller, more intimate conference than our fall gathering, aimed at encouraging discussion. There will be sessions on cost containment, the Supreme Court disparate-impact ruling, an HFA–developer roundtable, and more.

We hope you’ll join us.