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2012 Multifamily Outlook

Submitted by J. Debes 

Industry experts expect another strong year for multifamily in 2012, thanks to the same fundamentals that made 2011 a great year:
·         -creation of new rental households that accompanies job market revival
·         -continuing preference of rental housing over homeownership, thanks to weak for-sale housing sector
·          -supply constraints: last year 38,000 new apartment units came online, the lowest annual figure for new completions in 31 years (according to REIS, Inc)
In 2011 the national vacancy average shrunk by 1.4%, ending the year at 5.2%.  The last time national vacancies approached such levels was late 2001.
While vacancies shrunk, effective rent grew 2%-5%; depending on your source, (REIS estimated 2.3%, Axiometrics 4.4%, MPF 4.7%).  Higher quality properties in the most desirable locations posted rent gains in excess of 5-10%.
THE CABOT GROUP achieved effective rent gains of 10% in tertiary markets for mostly B class properties.
What is the secret you may ask?  While the multifamily sector performed well for the reasons mentioned above, the last time such conditions existed was nearly a decade ago, and many operators and managers were slow to recognize/react to improving conditions.  At THE CABOT GROUP, we constantly analyze the marketplace.  This allowed us to spot this opportunity for rent growth early on and adjust our marketing and renewal strategies accordingly.
Do not miss the boat in 2012.  Analysts predict another year of rising rents of 3%-5.5%.  In fact, Ronald Johnsey, president of apartment market research at Axiometrics recently said, “You could see 10 years of a strong apartment market”.

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