We all know that jobs are a critical driver of the apartment building investment cycle and so we dutifully follow along with the talking heads when the unemployment number is estimated, released and then its potent debated. But Mike Scott over at Dupre+Scott points out in a piece posted Friday that apartment building investors should be following employment, not unemployment. Specifically he recommends measuring how many jobs it takes to create demand for one apartment unit. Currently in King County (where Seattle is the county seat and where Dupre+Scott is located) it takes about 8 jobs to do that:
The formula is simple: Net new jobs / apartment units absorbed. And if you’re an multifamily investor in the tri-county area (King, Pierce and Snohomish in WA State) that Dupre+Scott provides apartment investment research for, they’d be happy to supply you this information http://www.duprescott.com.
In a study by Dupre+Scott they found a growing number of apartment building investors in the Puget Sound region are charging tenants for water, sewer and garbage which make up can make up a pretty large chunk of operating expenses:
Two-thirds of the properties we surveyed pass through water and sewer charges to residents, and 50% also pass through garbage costs. The average monthly water/sewer charge in the region ranges from $46 for studios to $70 for three-bedroom units. Adding garbage charges increases costs to $55 for studios and $90 for three bedroom units. Our March Apartment Expense Report found that utility charges paid by residents increased 50% between 2008 and 2012.