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Multifamily sector still strong, say experts at PCBC conference

All age groups under 65 are looking for rentals, not just Millennials.

July 14, 2017 |
Typical apartment complex in U.S. West Coast city.

PCBC attendees in San Diego got an earful from experts about the strength of the apartment and condo market.


The Pacific Coast Builders Conference focuses heavily on single-family construction. But this year’s PCBC (June 27-29, San Diego) had a strong dose of multifamily-related content, according to an excellent report by Patricia Kirk, in National Real Estate Investor. Among the trends Kirk noted:

1. There’s a lot of growth ahead for the multifamily sector, said Kim Edwards, SVP,  J.P. Morgan Real Estate Banking. Long-term growth in occupancy rates is projected, Edwards told PCBC attendees.

2. Millennials in the 20- to 34-year-old age bracket are not the only group looking for apartments, said Ron Witten, Witten Advisors LLC, a multifamily market advisory firm. All age groups under 65 are showing demand for rentals.

3. Mixed-use projects are entertaining more non-traditional uses, such as museums and conference centers, said Jonathan Cox, SVP, AvalonBay Communities, a publicly traded multifamily REIT.

4. It is wise to lease the retail component of mixed-use projects first, said Kimberly Byrum, Principal, Meyers Research. The retail creates a “destination” that helps in leasing the multifamily units.

5. Apartment units in mixed-use projects don’t necessarily outperform the market in rent growth, according to Byrum, but they may stimulate rent growth for the larger neighborhood. A walkable environment can add $100 to $125 a month to rentals. It also produces higher yields.

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