Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No Danger of Overbuilding in Multifamily Sector Until 2013 via

With the increasing popularity of multifamily properties as an investment class, some industry pros are beginning to question whether the sector might end up overbuilt.

So far during this real estate cycle, developers have been extremely conservative in delivering new product to the market. In 2011, less than 40,000 units came on line, the lowest figure in more than 30 years, according to Reis Inc., a New York City-based research firm. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, an Encino, Calif.-based brokerage firm, estimates that multifamily construction completions last year totaled just 35,000 units.

Yet going forward, construction activity in the sector will undoubtedly expand.

In October, 47 percent of respondents to a quarterly survey administered by the National Multi-Housing Council (NMHC), a Washington, D.C.-based trade group, reported a substantial pick-up in land acquisitions, financing deals and permit applications for multifamily properties in their local markets. In 2012, Reis expects to see between 72,000 and 85,000 newly completed units, while Marcus & Millichap anticipates 85,000 new unit deliveries.

Given the abundance of demand for new apartments, that still won’t put the sector in danger of overbuilding in 2012. In 2011, the national vacancy rate for multifamily properties declined 120 basis points from the year prior, to 5.4 percent, Marcus & Millichap reports. Effective monthly rents rose 4 percent, to $995 per unit. This year, multifamily vacancy should fall another 40 basis points, to 5 percent, in Marcus & Millichap’s estimates. Effective rents will likely rise 4.8 percent.

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