Ballooning home prices and rising interest rates in the for-sale housing market have served as an adrenaline shot for apartment demand, driving valuations up, but as inflation pummels the construction industry, the development pipeline still can’t keep up. In an interview with Bisnow, CEO Edward Ring and COO Julie Blank discuss why this is good news for existing multifamily owners but explain why they still need to be cautious.
“People are working, they’re paying their rent, they’ve gotten through Covid, and maybe they’ve been saving for years to buy a house — but suddenly the cost of everything about buying a house is way up, so they’re going to be renters still,” Ring commented.
A deep recession might bring the cost of housing down in a hurry, as it did in 2008, but in that case job losses would keep people in their apartments, Ring pointed out, though he’s skeptical that a recession in 2022 or 2023 would be the kind of implosion that happened during the Great Financial Crisis.
“A lot of institutional money seems to be mistaking today’s outlook with that of 2008,” Ring said. “They’re bracing for another massive recession. There are some similarities, such as in rising home prices, but otherwise dynamics aren’t the same.”
In short, Ring expects home prices to remain relatively high, along with the cost of mortgages, as long as the Federal Reserve tries to tamp down inflation via interest-rate increases. Rising interest rates are expected to have a clear impact on housing sales and the current climate might make things tough for renters who want to own, but multifamily owners stand to benefit as renters remain in place.
Despite an overall positive market outlook, multifamily owners should still be cautious, Blank told Bisnow.
“Operators must take a strategic look at the demographics they are targeting and set their business plans according to real-life scenarios,” she said. “What can residents actually afford? Business owners can’t be swayed into thinking that everybody can afford something a little bit better.”
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