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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.  

 

 

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

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

Employment Growth in October

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the addition of 261,000 jobs to the U.S. total nonfarm payroll employment during October. The BLS also reported the headline unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent – the lowest rate in the past 17 years.

The rebound in employment counteracts the slump in September which can be widely-attributed to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

EPIC Asset Management Group

According to the BLS report, employment in the food services and drink places industry spiked in October increasing by +89,000 following September’s decrease of 98,000 due to the hurricanes. The manufacturing sector saw a rise in employment by 24,000 jobs last month while health care added about 22,000 jobs. The professional and business services industry also stayed on pace with its average monthly gain by adding 50,000 jobs to the market.

Other major industries such as mining, construction, retail, government, transportation and warehousing, and information services experienced minimal change during October.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls only slightly varied in October. But over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 63 cents or 2.4 percent.

Click here for the Bureau of Labor Statistics October report in its entirety: www.bls.gov

Getting Ready to Sell Your Community

Analyzing Metrics - EPIC Asset Management Group

In a recent article for the National Apartment Association, author Les Shaver, interviewed some multifamily professionals from Chicago-based AMLI Residential to learn strategies that make selling a community easier by demonstrating uncapitalized property value and analyzing macro data.

“We want to demonstrate value for the buyers by upgrading 20 percent of the apartments, Sarah Wieckowicz, Vice President of Revenue Management at AMLI, said during the Maximize session “Leaving Occupancy Behind: Identifying the Truly Important Measures” last week in Austin. “We can show a potential buyer what kinds of returns they can get.” In other words, leaving some meat on the bone will make your property more attractive to potential buyers when it comes time to sell.

In the process, AMLI is also harnessing the power of advanced metrics. The company is utilizing their access to big data to know when to accelerate or decelerate a rehab process, understand if it’s best to sell or maintain ownership of property, and accurately inform potential and current buyers.

For the entire NAA article and more details on these selling strategies, click here.

 

Airbnb Entering the Apartment Industry

Subleasing is usually something landlords do not prohibit because it’s often a high-risk low-reward situation. But that is not the case for a Newgard Development Group, a major real estate development company out of Florida. Earlier this month, CNET’s Dara Kerr reported the announcement of Airbnb’s new partnership with Newgard Development Group that will be branded as “Niido.”

The partnership will allow Newgard tenants of a 324-unit property in Kissimmee, Florida to utilize short-term leases and sublease their apartment on Airbnb for a maximum of 180 days per year. In return, Airbnb has agreed to share some of the income generated through the listings with Newgard.

Airbnb - EPIC Asset Management Group

The partnership aims to “eliminates barriers by encouraging home sharing and creating solutions that work for everyone,” stated Newgard CEO Harvey Hernandez. Furthermore, Hernandez stated the new business plan should help tenants relieve some financial pressures as cost of living increases by providing extra cash flow through Airbnb listings.  “Niido’s unique multifamily home-sharing model provides a powerful solution to this ongoing problem by delivering extra income for tenants while creating enhanced experiences for their guests.”

Beyond their intial Niido project, Newgard and Airbnb plan on furthering the partnership by building new apartments with the sole purpose of subletting to short-term tenants and tourists.

Click here to read the full CNET article covering the Airbnb/Newgard partnership

Hub by Amazon

Amazon Innovating Apartment Parcel Delivery Process

Anyone who has ordered a product online understands the anxiety that comes along with any shipping process. Despite provided tracking systems, it’s hard not to wonder if a package will arrive on time, is it going to be damaged, will someone be available to receive the package upon delivery, and if not, will the package be stolen? These are all legitimate, but expected concerns any online shopper has to consider, but Amazon has devised a solution to provide customers more peace of mind, especially for customers living in apartment communities.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched the “Hub” program, a parcel-delivery locker service designed for multi-tenant dwellings so residents can receive larger packages and pick them up at flexible times. And the best part it is, Hub by Amazon is NOT exclusive to Amazon purchases. Residents can use Hub for any package that fits in the locker, from any major sender, any retailer, at any time. Hub is a sister service of Amazon Lockers, which is a delivery option for any amazon customer, but only for select items and in select cities.

This is how the locker system works. Upon checkout, the customer selects a specific locker location for delivery instead of a home or business address. Once the package is delivered to the locker, a confirmation email is sent to buyer, along with a unique pickup code that will grant access to their specified locker. When arriving to collect the package, it’s as simple as entering the locker combination or scanning the provided bar code to unlock their locker and obtain their order.

From a resident’s standpoint, Hub provides a level of security and flexibility standard delivery options don’t provide. Residents can know when their package arrives, take comfort it’s in a secure location, and enjoy the flexibility of picking up the package whenever convenient. And on the managerial side of things, employees will spend much less time handling package-related queries and problems from residents. In addition, offices, lobbies, and mail rooms will regain some appeal that has been diminished by an ugly stack of deliveries waiting to be picked up by residents.

Like every other convenience, Hub comes at a cost. The unit measures at approximately 7 feet by 7 feet with 42 lockers varying in size, so it’s not a small footprint. Furthermore, Hub will cost managers and owners a pretty penny with the price landing somewhere between $10,000-$20,000 with no further monthly fees. Considering the large footprint and even larger price tag, installing a Hub is certainly not ideal for every property. Having said that, Hub’s cost might not be as daunting as it appears.

It’s important to view the locker unit for what it really is: an amenity. Comparatively speaking, the Hub cost is similar to other amenities such as a dog park, laundry room renovations, or a children’s play place among others. It comes down to the demographic of each property, what that demographic desires, and if the property’s budget allows for such an amenity. With all factors considered, it’s hard to deny the convenience and allure of having such an amenity like Hub available to your tenants and employees.