(RealShare Apartments East comes to the Hyatt Regency in Miami, FL, on February 26.)

NEW YORK CITY-In a clear sign of its commitment to the affordable housing market—and a desire to grow its presence in that segment—Related Cos. announced Wednesday that it promoted Matthew Finkle to president of Related Affordable. He joined the company as VP in 2003 and became SVP about 5 years ago.

The new leader has ambitious plans for the division, he tells GlobeSt.com. “Historically, our affordable group has operated in 13 states and it’s been an opportunistic approach as transactions came available. We’re going to be more proactive and work to make markets.” For example, Finkle says, “we’ve never done transactions, in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and we’re going to think about whether it makes sense strategically to do business there.”

Part of what will drive the decision is where other divisions of Related, in addition to affordable housing, have a presence, he notes. “We have management presence nationwide thru other parts of Related so we can leverage that. Four years ago we added about 29 properties in Virginia and North Carolina and we didn’t have a strong management presence—if any—in the area, but I would say that now we do.”

Beyond maximizing employees in existing offices, Related will, if necessary, put in place employees dedicated to affordable housing in particular markets, according to Finkle.

Additionally, the new president plans to grow Related’s efforts in the space by considering for acquisition multi-asset portfolios and even whole development companies, he reveals. But there will be strict criteria in determining what entities become part of Related, Finkle adds.

“They have to be portfolios that are consistent with what we do: affordable preservation. We rehabilitate and preserve properties for the long term, we don’t buy and flip them,” he explains. “The creation of value is based on a long term holding strategy.”

Overall, Finkle sees great value in the affordable segment. “Affordable housing is a very, very strong need,” he says. “There never seems to be a dearth of opportunities.”