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Accelerated Rent Growth and Projecting Occupancy

“Demand for 106,716 apartments in the third quarter well surpassed completions that totaled 83,170 units, RealPage reported. Year-to-date, the country’s occupied apartment count has increased by 295,750 units compared to new project deliveries totaling 232,911 units.”

In a recent article for MBA Newslink, author Michael Tucker highlighted recent rent growth trends and expected occupancy rates as we approach the end of the year. This article provides statistics reported by RealPage, Richardson, Texas. RealPage -EPIC Asset ManagementAccording to RealPage’s statistics, U.S. apartment rent growth accelerated to a 2.9 percent annual pace in the third quarter. RealPage chief economist, Greg Willett, said this step up from the second quarter’s rent growth percentage has reversed the slowing pattern of apartment price increases recorded since late 2015.

 

Despite the momentum surpassing expectations in the third quarter, it remains to be seen how it has affected the overall picture. That said, Willett did note that apartment owners “gained a little more pricing power” during the quarter as occupancy increased from 95.4 percent to 95.8 percent.

To view this article in its entirety, click here.

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Multifamily Holds Strong in First Half of 2018

At the halfway point of 2018, the U.S. multifamily market has held strong despite projected hurdles in the form of elevated supply levels, decelerated rent growth, and lack of affordability in major metros. As of June, the national average rent has risen to an all-time of $1,405 and year-over-year rents are up 2.9%, a 20-basis point jump from May.

With rents increasing by $29 in the second quarter, it is the highest quarterly rent growth percentage (2.1%) since the second quarter of 2015 when rents grew by 2.3%. The strong showing from the multifamily market should temper some fearful projections of decelerated rent growth turning into flattened or regressive rates after the peak years of 2015 and 2016.

The spring season is not a stranger to seeing elevated rent growth and is not necessarily a reliable indication of future trends but considering the doubts and reservations of the multifamily market’s strength entering 2018, the first-half numbers for the year are reassuring.

From a market standpoint, Orlando continues to lead the nation with 7.4% year-over-year rent growth. Markets in the Southwest such as Las Vegas (6.5%) and Phoenix (5.0%) have experienced rent growth as southern and western Californians look for more affordable living costs. Tech-based markets like Seattle, Denver, and  San Francisco rebounded with favorable rent growth in the second quarter of 2018 after experiencing some sharp deceleration in previous quarters. View the chart above to see how job growth, occupancy rate, rent growth, and supply levels are interacting with each other.

*All statistics are credited to Yardi Matrix

 

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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.  

 

 

Federal Reserve Raise Interest Rates

As many real estate professionals expected, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates to a range between 1.25 and 1.5 percent. This is the third increase of the year with the last one coming in June.

The chief economist at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Ryan Severino, expressed his minimal concern by stating, “We have been hiking rates for the last two years with no discernable impact on commercial real estate. That is because the economy continued to grow quickly enough over the last two years to support real estate even in the face of rising rates.”

That is not to say Severino doesn’t have his reservations. He highlighted the fact that rates increasing too quickly could stall economic growth and do considerable damage to the commercial real estate sector. In addition, as interest rates continue to rise, the cap rate spreads will continue to compress. Having said that, industry pundits believe the economy is strong enough to absorb the rate increase. 

According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, rates will continue to slowly increase in the coming term(s) with officials planning three quarter-point rate increases followed by hikes in 2019 and 2020. The projections for 2018 remain positive, as bank officials expect the U.S. economy to grow by 2.5,  and continue growing through 2020.

Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, offered her confidence in the projections and growth in a news conference, “The global economy is doing well. We’re in a synchronized expansion. This is the first time in many years we’ve seen this… I feel good about the economic outlook.” She also provided reassurance by noting the economy’s growth is not built on a massive amount of unsustainable debt, unlike another not-so-distant time of economic growth.

Click here for more information on rate increases and upcoming term projections:

The Wall Street Journal: Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System press release

AXIOMetrics – Market Trends

Last week, AXIOMetrics, a market research company that provides strategic insight reports for real estate professionals, published research detailing November market trends for apartments.

According to the report, “A signal that the national apartment market may be on the road to strengthening in 2018 was sent by November’s performance figures, which showed that annual effective rent growth increased by 21 basis points (bps) to 2.3%. ” This figure stands out because it is only the third time in the past seven years rent growth increased from October to November.

New York, Seattle, and Dallas are metros we are used to seeing toward the top of performance lists, but it is their smaller, surrounding sister cities that have been demonstrating strong numbers. For example, when comparing New York and Long Island, the difference in annual effective rent growth is very apparent. Long Island has averaged 3.8% annual rent growth since 2015. Even though that is middle-of-the-road performance on a national level, it is 250 base points (bps) above New York’s  1.3%. A similar pattern is found when comparing Dallas to Fort Worth and Seattle to Tacoma. 

“To use an age-old axiom in the real estate industry, location certainly does matter. And while not every company’s strategy best aligns with locating in adjacent markets such as these, it should also not be discounted either, as there is potential there for success on a property-by-property or a portfolio-by-portfolio basis.”

AXIOMetrics’ market trends report is filled with useful statistics and visual aids that could affect property and investment strategies, so a personal analysis of the information is advised.

Click here for the full report: AXIOMetrics November 2017 Market Trends

 

United State of America

Tax Reform Advances

Late last week, the Senate passed the proposed tax reform legislation that is set to have a large effect on every taxpayer. Now, the House and Senate will have to hash out reform differences. According to a recent National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) article, despite numerous differences between the House and Senate proposals, both leave many critical provisions relevant to multifamily intact. For example:

“Both would allow multifamily firms to continue to fully deduct business interest and engage in like-kind exchanges. Notably, the House bill also maintains 27.5-year depreciation for multifamily buildings whereas the Senate bill extends the recovery period to 30 years for firms wishing to maintain full deductibility of interest. Initially, the Senate sought a 40-year depreciation period for buildings, but NMHC/NAA were able to secure an amendment during committee markup offered by Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to reduce the period to 30 years. Notably, the Senate bill would require firms wishing to opt out of interest deductibility to depreciate existing buildings over an additional 2.5 years.”

One point the House and Senate differ on is the pass-through rate. Under the House’s proposed bill, multifamily firms will see a portion (30 percent or more depending on capital intensity) of their business income taxed at 25 percent. The Senate’s proposal, “individuals could take a 23 percent deduction on a portion of pass-through income that would generally be limited to a partner’s share of wages paid by the underlying business.”

These are only a few of the possible changes among a vast amount of proposed alterations to the nation’s tax code that could have an adverse effect on the multifamily industry and many others. And with the wheels still in motion and more proposal revisions to come, the aforementioned reform figures are subject to change. So if you’d like learn more detail about the upcoming tax reform and how it could effect you, your investing, or multifamily, click this link for the NMHC article and their related posts: Republican Tax Proposal Nears the Finish Line

Largest San Fransico Landlord Partners with Airbnb

Not long after inking a deal with Florida landlord, Newgard Development Group, Airbnb has signed a deal with San Fransico’s largest landlord, Veritas Investments, and Pillow Residential, a San Fransico-based startup that helps apartment owners turn units into short-term rentals.

According to the partnership, Pillow will now become the preferred partner for landlords enrolled in Airbnb’s Friendly Buildings Program, which allows landlords and tenants to share the revenue generated via home sharing.

Pillow’s services have made short-term renting a more mutually beneficial option for landlord and tenants than ever before. This is achieved by providing tools to each party that helps automate the home sharing process.

For tenants, Pillow’s tools help create Airbnb listings that automatically inputs specific building information such as access codes, emergency contacts, and shared amenities.

For landlords, Pillow automates onboarding tenants and educating them on home sharing, and also provides information about creating and executing home sharing lease addendums.

In addition, landlords are given a dashboard that monitors short-term rentals throughout their properties and indicates if a unit is occupied or available to rent.

It will be worth monitoring how much skin in the multifamily game Airbnb gains as short-term renting become more prevalent via home sharing.

Click on the links below for more information on Airbnb and their transition to the apartment game.

Airbnb Florida

Airbnb San Fransico

NAA Report Points to Orlando

Every quarter, the National Apartment Association (NAA) partners with RealPage to produce a Market Momentum report, which surveys industry executives across the country to reveal the most desirable markets for investing, rent performance, and resident retention.

While there are many varying opinions about what markets are desirable in the current economic climate, according to the most recent Market Momentum report, industry executives see Orlando being a hotspot for near-term multifamily investments.

“Market Momentum survey respondents rank Orlando as the top choice for increasing near-term apartment investment, said RealPage Chief Economist Greg Willett. “Supporting this choice, RealPage stats reveal tight occupancy, solid rent growth and comparatively moderate ongoing building in Orlando. Seattle and Washington, DC remain favored metros, while Sacramento and Los Angeles are moving up the list. Miami, Dallas and Atlanta, markets that previously were viewed favorably, have dropped from the top-rated list.”

NAA President & CEO Robert Pinnegear attests to the value of Market Momentum, noting the wide-range usage the report and the timely data it provides to industry investors and NAA members.

Click here for the full National Apartment Association article: www.naahq.org/orlando

For access to the full Market Momentum 2017 – Q3 click here: NAA Market Momentum

To learn more about NAA member services and sign-up: Member Services