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If California pursues a cap on rent increases, how many tenants will it actually help?

What happened to all that talk about rent control?

Less than four months after an initiative to allow cities to expand rent control failed overwhelmingly at the ballot box, and less than four months after then-incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom talked about brokering a compromise between tenant and landlord groups, no new legislation from lawmakers or specific proposals from the Newsom administration have been introduced to cap how much rents can rise.Legislators who have backed rent control expansions in the past say they’re working on proposals to help tenants stay in their homes. Newsom, in his State of the State address earlier this month, called on the Legislature to send him tenant protections he could sign into law, although he didn’t offer any specifics.

“Everything is on the table,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, Democrat from San Francisco, who co-authored a failed rent control bill last year. “From topics like just cause eviction to Costa Hawkins and other protections, everything is being considered.”

One possible compromise: A bill to ban “rent gouging,” similar to one poised to take effect in Oregon.

That measure, expected to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown in the next few weeks, would make Oregon the nation’s first state to enact anti-gouging provisions covering the vast majority of rental properties within its borders. While often characterized as statewide “rent control,” in reality it focuses on the most flagrant rent hikes—typically 10 percent or more.

“It was surprising to see (Oregon) with that type of success. It was heartening,” said Chiu. “As California policymakers we like to think we’re leading, but in this instance, hats off to our Oregon counterparts.”

Chiu stresses that any rent-gouging bill would need to be part of more comprehensive tenant protections, and that other more stringent rent control measures are still a possibility.

A UC Berkeley housing think tank released an anti-gouging proposal last year after consulting with both landlord and tenant groups. A Bay Area regional housing plan popular with state legislators from the area offers a similar solution.

So what exactly would an anti-gouging law in California actually look like? And how many people would it actually help?

No one can say yet.

 

Read more at East Bay Times

 

Developers claim co-living suites earn more per square foot than regular apartment rentals

Co-living developers in New York and Washington, D.C. report strong demand from renters.

Hundreds of co-living suites are renting quickly at ALTA LIC, a new high-rise apartment building in Long Island City, Queens.

“We are now about four months ahead of our expected pace,” says Christopher Bledsoe, co-founder and CEO of Ollie, the company managing the ALTA’s co-living apartments.

Companies like Ollie are proving that there is plenty of renter demand for co-living arrangements. The co-living spaces at ALTA are now earning more dollars per sq. ft. than the new conventional apartments in the same building. Other operators of co-living properties also report strong results at their projects.

“We can only speak to performance of our OSLO properties… and they have been exceptional,” says Martin Ditto, CEO of Ditto, a company that operates three fully-occupied co-living properties in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and is now planning to open a fourth.

Strong rents prove demand for co-living

“Co-living” is a living arrangement in which the residents share some aspects of their living spaces with each other. It’s not as radical as it sounds—for Ollie and Ditto’s OLSO brand, co-living typically takes the form of multi-bedroom apartments shared by roommates. For years, the student housing industry has also been building suites that students share as roommates.

“Our product type is a natural evolution of the student housing model,” says Ollie’s Bledsoe.

ALTA LIC opened in May 2018 with 466 apartments. Of those, Ollie is operating 169 as furnished co-living suites with a total of 422 bedrooms. According to Bledsoe, it’s the largest purpose-built co-living property in the United States.

After less than a year in operation, 73 percent of these units are occupied, with renters paying from $1,260 to about $2,200 per month for a bedroom. The higher priced units may be larger, have better view, private entrances off the hallway or their own, un-shared bathrooms.

The cost of a bedroom also includes wireless Internet service and weekly housekeeping services, including bed linen, towels and toilet paper, along with shampoo and hand soap from Malin & Goetz. “It is the convenience of hotel living,” says Bledsoe.

The units are sized for efficiency and come furnished with custom furniture designed by Ollie to make the best use of small spaces. “For us a 535-square-foot studio is a two-bedroom micro-suit… a 750-square-foot one or two-bedroom is a three-bedroom suite,” says Bledsoe.

These co-living suites earn an average of 44 percent more income in rent per sq. ft. than the more conventional 297 luxury apartments at the 43-story tower, according to Bledsoe. The net operating income from these units is also 30 percent higher per sq. ft., even with the extra cost of co-living amenities like the housekeeping service.

 

Read more at National Real Estate Investor

Multifamily owners jump in the short-term rental game

When Harold Wu moved from Toronto to Baltimore for a new job, the first thing on his to-do list was to get a place to live.

As he embarked on his apartment search, the T Rowe Price senior vice president of procurement decided to book a hotel in Baltimore for a week in September.

“I looked at the usual suspects: Hilton, Marriott, Brookshire Suites, Residence Inn and so on. Then I stumbled upon WhyHotel on the internet.”

WhyHotel operates temporary hotels within multifamily buildings during a lease-up phase of a new apartment building.

Wu liked the idea of having a place with a full kitchen for the week as a home base. He never thought he’d actually end up living in that very apartment complex.

His weeklong experience at 225 Calvert ended up being the ultimate try-before-you-buy. As he looked around at other apartments — he shopped 36 in total — he found himself appreciating his temporary digs more and more. He liked the amenities, the closet space, the lockers for packages and the security. The ultimate test was of the soundproofing, and it passed.

“I wanted to see if this was a cheap renovation. You don’t hear your neighbor.”

The short-term stay aspect of the property made him nervous at first.

“Frankly, I was concerned that they had a hotel on multiple floors. I didn’t want to have a transient population walking around in my building if I were living there.”

But he has embraced it. He ended up signing a lease for a one-bedroom instead of two — he no longer has to host guests, as he has a hotel directly in his building now.

Other than seeing people with luggage around the elevator banks, Wu said he barely notices his short-term neighbors. Other apartment dwellers haven’t reported the same experiences, citing disturbances and crowded amenity spaces with the temporary guests.

Short-term rentals may not be widely accepted as a viable long-term option for a multifamily owner. Subleasing is generally not accepted, and short-term visitors can be disruptive to residents and create potential liability issues, market experts say.

 

Read more at Bisnow

 

 

Should California’s Costa-Hawkins rent control act be repealed?

Debating the pros and cons of rent control at the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute of San Francisco held a public forum at the Google Community Space Tuesday night debating Proposition 10, the November ballot initiative that would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act and allow California cities to potentially expand their rent-control ordinances.

Arguing in favor of Proposition 10 and potential rent-control expansion was Amy Schur, the director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

John Eudy, co-chair of the “no” campaign Californians for Responsible Housing (and also a vice president at Essex Property Trust) argued against repeal.

David Garcia, a policy director at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center For Housing Innovation, appeared as a third-way party; however, since Garcia appeared to nominally oppose Costa-Hawkins repeal, he often functioned as a second anti-Proposition 10 voice.

All three parties agreed that the state’s goal should be more housing production. They also agreed that Costa-Hawkins as it exists now is ineffectual at protecting renters and that the status quo won’t do in the future.

 

 

Read more on Curbed SF

 

 

Free time and fun: the new must-haves at apartments

As the luxury multifamily market approaches a peak, apartment owners and managers turning to social amenities to engage residents at their properties.

The new must-have amenity for luxury apartment projects? Time.

During this economic growth cycle apartment developers have engaged in a virtual arms race of amenities. Most were physical goodies they could tout in property tours – features like furnished guest suites for resident’s out-of-town visitors, rooftop pools, and walk-in lobby refrigerators for food deliveries.

Now, say apartment developers and property managers, the trend is towards providing services that save residents time, or experiences that make effective use of it.

Across the country high-end apartments are now offering a host of new services to attract renters: dog-walking, wine tastings, poker nights, errand-runners.

“There’s this feeling that the amenities war has run its course – everyone has the same check list on their website,” said Tom Geyer, vice president of branding at the Bozzuto Group, the Greenbelt, MD.-based developer and apartment manager.

“But I do think the battle of services is a newfound strategy to build value.”

Bozzuto, which owns or manages more than 60,000 units up and down the East Coast, has become a specialist in adding these experience-based and time-saving services, and notes the appeal of service and experience-based amenities goes across all age groups.

For its part, Geyer said Bozzuto doesn’t try to mold their properties to fit a certain age group – for millennials, say.

Rather, the company sees its properties and tenants in terms of “tribes.” Some properties have a preponderance of bike riders, some have dog owners, and others are dominated by retirees looking for urban living experiences.

“Most of our residents are not non-social people,” said Geyer. “Building amenity space is about supporting interaction, looking for a chance meeting of the tribe.”

For example, Geyer said residents aren’t just interested in an onsite gym, they want access to classes.

“Classes are the number one thing, group classes,” he said.

That means not just adding amenities, but re-designing some of the existing amenity spaces. Gyms have to be designed to accommodate the new trends of cross-fit, PX-90 workouts. And equipment has to be placed to accommodate classes.

National Development, a multifamily developer and manager based in Boston, agrees with the new thinking. It hired a full-time marketing and community engagement manager who coordinates events for a dozen National Development properties.

“It’s not an either-or proposition,” said Ted Tye, a managing partner at National Development. “There’s been a real push for physical amenities, and that hasn’t abated. Layered on top of that, as the market gets more competitive, is the social amenity.”

 

 

Read more on CoStar

 

 

 

Builders, Developers Focus On Ways To Save Costs, Build More Housing Units In Oakland, Bay Area

With rising construction costs, a costly entitlement process and labor shortages, Bay Area developers are looking into new ways to build housing more cost-effectively.

Developers are utilizing density bonuses, adding more efficiencies into construction, exploring modular units and prefab and experimenting with new techniques to keep costs down and get more projects off the ground.

Even though there are 17,000 units at different planning stages in Oakland, many of these units rent in the $3K to $4K range, which is not affordable for a majority of people in the Bay Area, oWow founder Danny Haber said during Bisnow’s Alameda County Multifamily and Mixed-Use event in Oakland.

His company’s focus has been on creating macro-units with efficient design that lead to three- and four-bedroom units that are more cost-effective to build and end up being 50% more affordable than their market-rate counterparts.

“The biggest amenity today … is affordable housing and access to jobs and opportunities to work,” Haber said.

Read more from Bisnow

 

 

Apartment Renters Continue to Dominate Many of the Nation’s Cities

Renter households now make up the majority in 42 of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., according to RENTCafé.

In close to half of the largest U.S. cities, the majority of households now rent rather than own their primary residence, according to a new report from RENTCafé, a Yardi company.

The share of households that own their homes has now declined to the level last seen in the1980s and early 1990s. That’s been great news for the multifamily sector, as those would-be homeowners have filled up apartments.

The homeownership rate is likely to stay at roughly its current level for the foreseeable future due to recent changes in the tax code that favor renting over buying and the high cost of for-sale homes.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

Ten-X: Bay Area Multifamily Top ‘Sell’ Markets In Country

This might be a good time to consider selling multifamily assets in the Bay Area.

San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland were listed as Ten-X’s top sell markets in its most recent U.S. Apartment Outlook report, which compared Q3 rents and vacancy rates to 2021 projections.

Bay Area cities are expected to face rising vacancies and flattening rent by 2021 following a flood of new supply from years of development. Ten-X’s models take into account a cyclical downturn in 2019-20 and a recovery by 2021.

San Francisco is particularly vulnerable to the cycle due to a heavy construction pipeline that is already impacting the market, according to Ten-X. Vacancy rates are at 4.5%, up 140 basis points from the cyclical low, and rates are expected to increase through 2020. Ten-X forecasts rents will contract by 7.5% over the recessionary period, which will result in severe net operating income declines.

Read more from Bisnow

Multifamily Market Trajectory in U.S. to Continue in 2018

According to a new report by Freddie Mac, the U.S. multifamily market will see continued strength in 2018, largely mirroring last year’s performance.

Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Research and Modeling Vice President Steve Guggenmos and Manager Sara Hoffmann find that the moderated growth the market saw in 2017 will continue through 2018. Originations will set another record this year, while rents will keep growing at current levels due to a healthy labor market and continued lifestyle preferences toward renting. Additionally, they forecast that over the next year, completions will peak and supply will increase only slightly faster than demand. While vacancy rates are expected to continue their upward trajectory at the national level and in most metropolitan areas, vacancies in most locations will remain below their historical averages through 2018.

Read more from World Property Journal

Exclusive Research Reveals Stable Outlook for the Multifamily Sector

Capital is continuing to flow to the multifamily sector. Despite concerns that the real estate cycle is peaking—and with high levels of multifamily construction in some metros—fundamentals have steadily improved and investment sales remain robust. Exclusive research conducted by NREI indicates that the market is likely to stay that course for at least another 12 months.

Apartments remain a favored property type among commercial real estate investors. When asked to rate the attractiveness of the different core property types on a scale of 1 to 10, survey respondents scored multifamily the highest at 7.9, but the score on industrial properties continues to gain ground. It now stands at 7.5. Hotels and office assets both scored at 5.9, while retail’s score has crashed to 4.5.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor