Archive for February, 2014

Increased Competition, Cost of Turns Good Reasons to Focus on Renewals

According to a recent NMHC survey resident renewal intent dropped from 65% in the second quarter of 2010 to 54.9% in the fourth quarter of 2013. That number could drop further considering there are 240,300 units scheduled for delivery this year, and considering how expensive turns can be – between $1,500 and $2,000 per unit on average – it’s going to be increasingly important for property managers to focus on retention tactics.

Multifamily Executive recently ran a piece about renewals that had some tips and tactics for boosting renewals. Here’s a taste:

Making sure associates are communicating on a personal level with residents is part and parcel to the corporate culture, one of the most important ways the FSSR office touches base, Casio-Smith says.

“You’ve got to follow up with them every chance you get,” she says. “If you know something personal about them, if it’s their birthday or if you know their wife is in the hospital battling cancer, then you should acknowledge that. Or it could be just following up with them on something as basic as service request.”…

And then there are renewal incentives:

Some of the company’s most popular incentives include one-time complimentary house cleaning or valet laundry service. And it’s easy to develop a relationship with the companies offering the cleaning services since they may garner new business from the apartment community through the renewal gifts…

Kristin Stanton, senior vice president of operations at Greensboro, N.C.–based Bell Partners, saysupgrades to homes works in some markets while it doesn’t work in others.

Interior upgrades, such as accent wall paint, upgraded light fixtures or the addition of ceiling fans, seem to be the most popular kind of renovation that people prefer, Stanton says. And if that doesn’t convince someone to stay, there are other upgrade options as well.

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February 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

Can NIMBYism Lead to a Gen Y Brain Drain?

The state of Massachusetts has a real problem – they’re losing many of the coveted demographic of young professionals due to a lack of available apartments. From the article:

Though the production of more rental units is integral to the growth of the state, many communities, namely single-family strongholds, are still staunchly against multifamily projects. But the lack of rental units across the state is starting to cause something of a brain drain among the Gen Y crowd.

“We’re trying to break a stalemate,” Massachusetts’ housing and economic development secretary Gregory Bialecki said at an Urban Land Institute forum in January. “The approach the state has taken is what I call an ‘eat your veggies’ strategy. ‘I know you don’t want this, but it’s necessary.’ It hasn’t been effective.”

The state already lost a congressional district in 2010 after seeing just moderate census numbers, and multifamily starts have been down. So far, Boston’s scheduled completions are well short of the state’s 10,000 unit starts per year goal—the city’s inventory will grow roughly 1.5 percent this year as it sees about 6,500 completions…

A big part of that education process is changing the perception of multifamily in NIMBY-heavy areas. Municipalities should view the production of apartments as integral to the state’s future  as roads and bridges. The state is working to create a prompt and predictable permitting process

February 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm Leave a comment

Considerations When Investing in Smaller Apartment Markets

An interesting read in Mutlifamily Executive about best practices when investing in secondary and tertiary apartment markets. In other words places like the Triad. One of the most important factors? Pent up demand due to a lack of new apartment supply:

Remember the supply side of “supply and demand”: Multifamilydemand drivers like job announcements and immigration receive more press than the local apartment supply pipeline. However, the lack of new apartment supply in secondary and tertiary markets is a crucial, often-overlooked, factor. These markets are consistently less attractive to new apartment developers than primary markets, even though fundamental demand drivers such as capital cities, regional medical centers, and long-standing higher-education institutions help create stable renter demand.

Read the rest of the article here.

February 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

Mixed-Use Communities a Growing Preference

Respondents to an Urban Land Institute study have shown a growing preference for mixed-use communities and a willingness to trade space for proximity to work/school:

The needs and wants of renters and homeowners aren’t so very different, as evidenced by the Urban Land Institute’s America in 2013 housing survey: both demographics are big fans of mixed-use communities…

In terms of important community characteristics, both renters and homeowners chose neighborhood safety and the quality of public schools as the top two most-desired attributes. But where homeowners tapped “Space Between Neighbors” as their No. 3 concern, renters chose walkability as the third most important attribute.

Proximity to work/school was the fourth most-desired attribute, and that consideration may even trump square footage. The majority of both renters and homeowners say they would be OK with trading a shorter commute for a smaller home–about 61 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t mind that trade-off.

The preference for suburbs or small towns is still strong: Only 28 percent of respondents said they prefer living in a medium-sized or big city, But the pull of urban living is strongest in some key demographics; about 43 percent of all Latinos surveyed prefer city life, as do 40 percent of Gen Y members.

February 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

Raleigh #9 Metro Area With Most Units Under Construction

According to a list put together by REIS, Peirce Eislen and Jones Lang LaSalle the Raleigh apartment market has the 9th most units under construction in the country. Raleigh’s 10,681 is a little more than #10 Atlanta’s 10,201 but well behind #1 Washington, DC’s 23,721.

February 24, 2014 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

Wynnefield Properties Looks to Build 72-Unit Community in S. Greensboro

From the Greensboro News & Record:

Jamestown development company Wynnefield Properties seeks zoning changes to build a multifamily development of up to 72 units in South Greensboro.

The 4.86 acres of land at 4406 and 4408 Rehobeth Church Road is zoned for single family residential use. Wynnefield wants to rezone the properties for multifamily use, with all structures three stories or smaller.

February 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Blue Ridge’s Poo Policy Makes the News

Although many communities have been doing the “doggie doo DNA” thing for a while, it’s still news to the general populace. That helps explain the interest in Blue Ridge’s adoption of the practice at one if its Wilmington communities:

A Wilmington apartment complex will soon be running DNA tests on dog poop to identify owners who don’t clean up after their pooches do their business.

The StarNews of Wilmington reports The Reserve at Forest Hills will ask the complex’s 100 dog owners to have their pets swabbed for a DNA sample.

Then, if poop found in the complex matches a pet, the owner will be fined and also will have to pay for the DNA testing which can cost up to $50.

February 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

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