A growing supply of housing, volatility in the marketplace and risks in the development process all affected the multifamily market in 2018. In 2019, these three factors will continue to move the needle.
The Housing Supply
Markets like Boston, Seattle and Nashville are growing supply faster than demand. From 2015 to 2017, developers were building like crazy and landlords were enjoying rent increases of 5-7% year over year. They built too much, and the peak has showed itself. Only top markets like Atlanta and Charlotte can justify their cost of living increases. The rest will likely see slower growth and possibly losses in rent values and occupancy rates.
Secondary markets are experiencing problems in their local economies, which is driving away the multifamily market. Fewer jobs means less security. Most multifamily clients are looking for stability, and they move into and out of markets based on that. Experts are predicting a consolidation of these families into larger markets.
The volatility in the market has been accompanied by higher interest rates, which makes money harder to borrow. The seller’s market has held out for so long that a turnaround was almost inevitable, and most experts agree that the current trend is more than just a short term hiccup. We are looking at a real market correction.
These three variables come together to create a multifamily market that is looking better for buyers than it has in a long time. Entrants into the market who have been waiting for a price dip began to see it in the latter part of 2018. All signs point to this price trend continuing into 2019.
Just as important as price is location. Although multifamily units will probably be in high supply in secondary markets, these units will be more difficult to fill. What you may see is a consolidation towards markets like Atlanta and Charlotte from multifamily buyers as well as renters.
You may also see speculators who choose to purchase in secondary markets and wait for a turnaround. In both cases, you can probably expect a more balanced overall landscape that will eventually stabilize into market values that are anywhere from 10 to 35% off peak.
Contact your trusted real estate professional to help you navigate the housing opportunities in 2019 for your local market.