Dr. Kevin Gillen Has Joined Houwzer

Posted on May 24, 2017


Dr. Kevin Gillen is one of Greater Philadelphia’s premiere economists; now, we’re excited to say, he has come on board as the Senior Economic Advisor for Houwzer!

As the Senior Research Fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, Dr. Gillen’s insights have been featured in the Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, and Bloomberg News. He also produces regular reports on the housing market, nationally and in Greater Philadelphia.

We believe this is the beginning of beautiful partnership, so we caught up with Dr. Gillen for a proper introduction:

When did you first find your calling in real estate?
I am actually the first Ph.D. graduate of Wharton who concentrated in urban economics and real estate finance.  My interest in urban economies and real estate markets stems from a memory from my early childhood.  I grew up in Buffalo, NY.  And I remember a billboard I saw along Lake Erie as a little boy (probably during the recession of the early 1980s) that said: “Will the Last One Out of Buffalo Please Turn Out the Lights?”.  I remember being offended at that, and subsequently became very interested in why some cities and regions grow and prosper while others decline and fail.  Since real estate is the largest source of tax revenue for most municipalities, you have to understand how real estate markets operate if you want to understand why some cities succeed and others don’t.

Since then, you’ve really seen the industry evolve. What did you see in Houwzer?
Houwzer is a fantastic assemblage of forward-looking talent under the direction of a great management team.  I know the word “disruptive” has become a cliche, but they have developed an innovative and disruptive model that is going to up-end not only the real estate industry, but the entire housing sector of the U.S. economy.  I am excited about the opportunity to not only accelerate that process and deliver value to Houwzer’s clients and investors, but to also help Houwzer establish itself as a genuine “thought leader” in the real estate industry.  Plus, they told me that their company happy hour has free beer.

And just for fun, tell us something about yourself:
Being an economist is kind of like being an accountant, but without the groupies. Whenever my wife has trouble falling asleep at night, she just asks me to tell her about my day. She’s out like a light after just a minute or two.

If you made it out for “Pizza, Beer, and Real Estate” with Houwzer, you know that Dr. Gillen’s industry insights won’t put you to sleep. But the company happy hour? Let’s just say it’s a great place to work. Oh yeah, Houwzer is hiring.


Recent Articles

What Happens When Philadelphia Tax Abatements Expire? Part III

What Happens When Philadelphia Tax Abatements Expire? Part III

Posted on Jun 22, 2018

This blog is the third in Houwzer Senior Economic Advisor Kevin Gillen's three-part research series examining how successful and beneficial the tax abatement program has been so far. Part one of the series examined the transaction volume after the abatements expired. Part two examined what happened to the properties' market values post-abatement. This final piece uncovers the disparity between what buyers paid for an abatement and its actual value, as well as the reasons behind the disparity.