Apartment List’s Renter Confidence Survey

Recently, Apartment List, a home-finding service that offers apartment recommendations based on personal experiences and preferences, released results from its third annual Renter Confidence Survey. According to Apartment List, the Renter Confidence Survey “is the largest survey focused exclusively on renters, providing unique insight into what states and cities must do to meet the needs of America’s 111 million renters.”

The survey is based on 45,000 survey responses gathered between October 1, 2016 and December 6, 2017, to determine the best/worst cities for apartment renters. Survey respondents gave their cities an overall score based 11 rating factors such as safety, affordability, job opportunities, weather, taxes, and more. Below is a graphical representation of overall renter satisfaction by state: 

Click here to interact with the graphic above

Here are some key overall findings from the Renter Confidence Survey:

  • Overall, the top four rated cities for renters are Plano, TX, Huntington Beach, CA, Scottsdale, AZ, and Cambridge, MA.
  • Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, Raleigh, NC, Boston, MA, Virginia Beach, VA and Minneapolis, MN earned the top scores for renter satisfaction. The lowest-rated cities were Detroit, MI, Oakland, CA and Tucson, AZ.
  • Small to mid-sized cities tended to receive higher ratings than large cities. 38 percent of small to mid-sized cities received A- or higher compared to large cities’ 24 percent.
  • States rated most-highly by their renters are Colorado, Alaska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Idaho. States with the lowest ratings from their renters are Arkansas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Wyoming, and West Virgina.
  • Millennial renters love Boulder, CO, Madison, WI, and Arlington, VA.

In addition to overall ratings, renters rated specific factors that have a direct impact on their renting experience. Important takeaways include:

  • Markets with the most unsatisfied renters based on job opportunity are mostly southwest cities hit hard by recession such as Santa Ana, CA, San Bernardino, CA, Glendale, AZ, and Mesa, AZ.
  • Based on safety, renters rate Plano, TX, Boulder, CO, and Irvine, CA the highest.  Renters feel the least safe in Stockton, CA, San Bernardino, CA, New Orleans, LA, Memphis, TN, and Newark, NJ.
  • It’s no surprise Colorado and California have the highest-rated weather. Cold weather cities in the Rust Belt and Northeast have the lowest-rated weather.
  • Renters gave high ratings to college towns such as Boulder, CO, Ann Arbor, MI, Raleigh, NC, and Madison, WI for their social life.

Other important findings:

  • Only 38 percent of renters are satisfied with the cost of living in their city.
  • The top three factors renters are most satisfied with include commute time, pet-friendliness, and recreational activities.
  • The four factors that are most indicative of overall renter satisfaction are safety, job opportunities, social life, and recreational activities.

Major Takeaways from the NMHC Apartment Outlook for 2018

Digested from National Real Estate Investor

With demand holding strong, 2018 is expected to be a fruitful year for the multifamily industry. That is the general consensus at the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL., being held this week. Having said that, there is a feeling of reserved optimism among attendees and experts of the NMHC Outlook Meeting due to expected interest rate increases, more supply coming to market, and the market naturally moving to the mature/declining stages of the industry cycle. Here are some major takeaways from the opening-day events. 

  1.  There could be four interest rate increases this year. During its December meeting, The Federal Reserve indicated that it plans on hiking interest rates at least three times this year to stay on par with the economy’s strength. However,  Richard Barkham, a global chief economist at real estate services firm CBRE, thinks there could be a fourth rate increase later in the year. In addition, the U.S. is expected to transfer from negative interest rates to positive ones, which is interest rates minus inflation. Barkham notes that negatives rates are an indication of the benefits of monetary policy support.
  2. The economy may enter a declining state in the next three or four years. Despite an expected decline in the economy, Barkham expects the multifamily industry to weather recession easier than other asset classes given the shift in homeownership numbers.
  3. Blue collar areas and workforce housing present key opportunities for growth in the current environment. Greg Willett, chief economist at RealPage, a Texas-based firm providing property management software solutions, says regions with a high volume of blue-collar workers have provided consistent rent growth, despite a lack of construction happening in said areas.
  4. There is a bifurcation in rents between class-A and class-B apartments. Jay Lybik, vice president of research services at Marcus & Millichap, attributes the disparity between class-A and class-B apartments to the change in the provided product that’s being built. During the early 2000s, 90 percent of new builds were garden-style apartments. Recently, 75 percent of new supply are mid- and high-rise style apartments. The gap between class-A and class-B was approximately $225 in rent. Lybik notes the gap has increased to $525. Currently, Boston is experiencing the largest rent gap between class-A and class-B apartments, with rent difference of a whopping $1,170.
  5. Increased scrutiny is key when it comes to development. As the economy begins to phase into the mature stage of the industry cycle, margins of error are beginning to tighten. Interest rates continue to climb, rent growth begins to slow, land is becoming more expensive, and labor costs are rising. So the importance of ‘picking the right fight’ is more prominent than ever. That said, the same narrowing margin of error prompting caution simultaneously result in higher quality deals being executed in a more disciplined manner.
  6. Despite an expected deceleration of new builds in 2018, some metros might out-build their demand.  High-demand markets such as Dallas or Seattle are at risk of bringing too much new inventory to the market that could outpace rent growth, according to Willett. Other markets on Willett’s watch list include Denver, Boston, Nashville, Tenn. and Charlotte, N.C.

Click here for more information on the NMHC Annual Meeting: National Multifamily Housing Council

2018 Multifamily Outlook

2017 was a strong year for the multifamily industry. The market performed well with favorable demographics and provided a healthy investment environment. Despite a very high number of new units added to the market, occupancy rates stayed high as rental demand continued growth throughout the year. In addition, rents and property values had a generally-upward trend across the country, less certain cities and submarkets that experienced some challenges.

Will multifamily momentum carry over to 2018? While there are some mixed opinions, a number of industry indicators and pundits are confident the multifamily sector will remain strong in the new year. 

According to Doug Ressler,  director of business intelligence for commercial real estate data firm Yardi Matrix, new construction competition carrying over from 2017 could finally put a dent in occupancy rates.  “Occupancy will begin to have a slight downward trend in 2018 as new supply is introduced,” says Ressler. In 2017, occupancy rates averaged 95.6 percent. Based on Yardi Matrix data projections, 2018 will maintain a similar average of 95.4 percent.

That said, Ressler also noted the possibility of developers slowing the pace of new builds as the year progresses, which would improve the outlook for 2019. With fewer developments coming to market, 2019 would forecast some strong occupancy rates that could encourage property managers to increase rents. “We see national rent growth continue its positive climb in 2018,” says Ressler. in 2017, rents averaged an increase of 2.4 percent. Yardi Matrix projects 2018 rents to grow by 2.9 percent.

Industry professionals could see a change in target markets as the industry shifts into the new year. For example, some submarkets experienced strong growth as we rounded out 2017. So if that growth remains consistent this year, suburban/satellite cities benefitting from “demand overflow” could become popular investment environments.

All quotes and figures have been digested from Yardi Matrix and NREI Daily.