This year has been unique, to say the least, and the multifamily sector is no exception. Developers are facing new challenges as more families are working from home and others are dealing with job loss and unemployment. In total, however, the multifamily market has remained strong and is even seeing new opportunities for growth in the wake of more severe damage to similar property markets, such as retail and hospitality. This advantage presents opportunities for individuals who are still in a position to invest in the third and fourth quarters of 2020 while private investment is still leading the charge in the multifamily market.
At a conference on the State of Commercial Real Estate hosted by the Houston Business Journal on August 13th, the Founder and Managing Principal of Nitya Capital, Swapnil Agarwal, said of the current climate, “We’re still seeing this as an opportunity for people who are aggressive.” Nitya Capital owns over 20,000 properties across the United States that are currently maintaining 95% to 99% rent collections.
Agarwal credits their performance to being proactive in office accessibility and virtual tours for new leasing, distributing information to tenants about job availability and Houston’s rental assistance program, renewing existing leases for tenants who weren’t or aren’t prepared to move, and limiting capital expenses. Nitya also launched a $4 million rental assistance program and continues to receive “regular assistance” from the City of Houston, Harris County, and the federal government.
Across the United States, vacancies are down only about 60 basis points with rents falling less than 1%, according to Yewande Fapohunda, Senior Vice President of High Street Residential Trammel Crow Company at the August conference. “Stimulus policies are working,” says Fapohunda. “We are spending more time on individual deals to ensure they’re highly compelling. The locations have to be stellar. It has to be able to show continued rent growth.”
Fapohunda also pointed out the importance of evaluating deals based on the advantages of the land, meaning it aligns with the landowners to help cultivate value. According to a 2020 commercial real estate outlook, multifamily will continue to perform well and demand will be adequate to absorb new supply and lower concessions in oversupplied markets.