New Year, New Opportunities

Multifamily has much to look forward to in 2012.

Diana Mosher

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly four years since the economic meltdown of 2008. During those dark days bad news was the norm, and the industry found solace by focusing on the cyclical nature of real estate and the fact that there would surely be better times ahead. Some forecasts made predictions about 2012. So, now that we’ve arrived, how are we doing? In what’s become an annual tradition, much of this January issue of MHN is devoted to taking stock of where the industry has been in the last 12 months and what we can expect going forward. Industry watchers are keeping close tabs on the Euro zone and are mindful of the potential for a significant impact on the U.S. economy and financial markets if the Euro zone fails. Here at home, slow job creation also continues to be a wildcard, but in many cases it hasn’t prevented apartment investors from leasing units. In the Finance & Investment feature, Contributing Editor Poonkulali Thangavelu reports on the fundamentals that will benefit the apartment sector in 2012. Thanks to a favorable combination of limited supply and demand—and the unfortunate circumstances plaguing the single-family home market—multifamily is expected to continue thriving. “With lingering concerns about unemployment and a general economic malaise, the desire to own a home—and deposit a large chunk of money for a down payment—has cooled considerably,” according to Jones Lang  Multifamily Practice Leader Jubeen F. Vaghefi. “Generation Y and the Millenials are afraid of illiquidity and the restrictions of a mortgage. The flexibility of renting has never been more popular, and occupancies in the multifamily sector continues to rise.” MHN Executive Editor Keat Foong interviews Vaghefi about opportunities in 2012 and why the apartment investment market will continue to be “the object of envy by the other real estate sectors.”

But it takes more than positive market fundamentals to succeed in the multifamily marketplace. In 2012 MHN introduces a new department, which shares resident comments about a particular apartment feature. In January we partnered with San Francisco-based research and consulting services firm Kingsley Associates to find out what renters like about the tech offerings in their apartment communities—and what they would like to see added. WiFi and resident portals are now considered basic services, and renters who are unable to pay rent online have vented their frustrations. Above all, they value having options. Are your apartment communities prepared to deliver?

Diana Mosher
Editorial Director