The NAHB is out this morning with a chart that gives some perspective on apartment building investment starts. The Census Bureau reported 285,000 unit starts in October for 5+ unit buildings. At that rate it looks like we’re just returning to what was a sustainable level of starts in the ’97-’06 period.
“Even compared to a healthy and expanding nationwide market, multifamily in the Pacific Northwest is seeing exceptionally strong gains. A growing renter population and accelerating job growth have helped solidify cities like Portland and Seattle as cornerstones of the apartment industry, and the positive trends show no sign of letting up.” So begins a glowing report in the latest digital edition of MHN Magazine (On page 22). What’s not to like about an article like that, especially one with a cover shot as beautiful as the one in this article? Below is just a portion of it and Photoshopped or not it is something to behold.
Portland’s recovery in jobs driven by the return of tech and the lure of its funky coolness (see Portlandia) is noted in Kiplinger’s slide show on the 8 Cities with Surprising Job Growth where they’re expecting 130,000 new jobs in the next five years:
“After devastating job losses in the recession, Portland has made a spectacular recovery, fueled by the tech mini-boom and the area’s attractiveness to young people. Anchored by Intel and its 16,000 employees, Portland will maintain its moniker as the Silicon Forest for its more than 1,200 high-tech firms, most of them small to medium-size.
MHN Online has an interview with Dean Henry, president of Legacy Partners Residential, one of the big apartment building investment trusts (REITs). What I like is that he speaks in bullet points, just the way I think! Here’s my exec sum (in bullet points) of his bullet points:
“There are several important reasons why now is a great time to acquire existing multifamily assets. Let’s start with demand and supply:
The U.S. population is increasing by approximately 3 million people per year, plus the legal immigrants who enter the country, and 75 to 85 percent of whom rent rather than buy.
Nice Axiometrics chart posted by MFE Mag showing the top apartment building investment markets for rent growth and employment growth. I understand the tech employment growth in SF San Jose and Seattle but the 2.8% job growth in Salt Lake City caught me by surprise. What do you think is driving job growth there?
Dr. Mueller is one of the leading researchers on the commercial and apartment building investment cycle but I have big questions about Seattle being placed at the bottom of the cycle in his latest Cycle Monitor report. According to MPF Research there currently are 6,000 new units under construction in Seattle (see here) and Essex Property Trust estimates that there will be 10,000 units coming on line in the next three years (see here). In fact the NMHC lists Seattle as one of three US markets in danger of overbuilding (see here).
Continued positive multifamily demand fundamentals and ready access to capital at attractive rates is fueling a surge in new apartment development, according to industry executives.
Several hundred senior-level apartment executives gathered in Scottsdale, AZ, last week for National Multi Housing Council’s (NMHC) Apartment Strategies/Finance Conference and Spring Board of Directors Meeting. The following is the NMHC’s summary of what was discussed.
Continued low levels of new supply have led to a big bounce-back in rents as demand outpaces new construction. According to one panel of apartment executives, the new supply shortfall may be larger than once thought — as many as 700,000 to 1 million units — because many of the apartments built in recent years have been in the affordable, rather than market-rate, section of the market. Moreover, much of the current apartment stock dates back to the 1970s and is becoming obsolete, creating additional demand for new supply.
Select areas have seen such large upticks in the number of planned and under construction units that could turn into hot spots for potential overbuilding. In particular, certain submarkets of Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C., appear somewhat at risk.
But, overall, new completions are still a very low percentage of total inventory.