HOT & RELEVANT TOPICS
5 Trends Reshaping Post-Pandemic Future of Rental Housing
Much focus has been dedicated to the way 2020, by necessity, forced many standard multifamily practices to shift. Many of those ripples will be felt throughout industry practices moving forward. While the shift to virtual tours and the new outlook on amenities—namely flexible space and co-working capabilities—have been well documented, they are not the only wide-scale changes. The relationship between property managers and residents has morphed, as communication has become even more vital. Additionally, the work-from-home boom has given residents a different perspective on location, and Gen Z renters became an even larger part of the rental demographic along with their unique preferences.
Consumers Demand Environmentally Conscious Designs
With more time spent at home during the pandemic, renters have had time to reflect on their surroundings, and they’re willing to pay a premium for materials and designs that reduce waste and decrease their carbon footprint. Sustainable building materials—including fiberboard, recycled plastics, leather substitutes, alternative plasters and composite stone—are available but remain largely below the radar. Multifamily developers have an opportunity to capitalize on renter preferences by deploying these materials during construction. Companies that receive positive publicity for their sustainable approach to development will significantly outperform their competition.
Understanding the Nuances of Assistance Animals in Rental Housing
It’s a complicated topic, and even those who have a solid understanding of assistance animals struggle with some of the complexities. A panel of experts recently discussed the topic in a PetScreening webinar that examined many of the items within the 2020 HUD Notice. The topics included the difference between service and support animals, and how that translates to the separate ways onsite teams must handle each. The panel also discussed various types of documentation, how to manage verification processes and answered questions about unique property situations with regard to assistance animals.
IN THE NEWS
SmartRent Goes Public in $2.2 Billion Merger with Fifth Wall
A significant industry transaction took place this week when SmartRent, a smart-home operating system for the rental housing industry and beyond, merged with Fifth Wall Acquisition. Fifth Wall is a venture capital firm focused on the global real estate industry and proptech. When the $2.2 billion transaction closes, the combined company will be publically traded. Founded in 2017, SmartRent prides itself on offering the industry deeply integrated, brand-agnostic software solutions.
Developers Struggle with Escalating Lumber Prices
Multifamily construction projects are ramping up, but lumber prices still aren’t cooperating. Due to pandemic-related lumber mill shutdowns, lumber prices skyrocketed last year as supplies dwindled. For various reasons, the lumber stockpile has yet to catch up to the demand and instead of prices dropping they have only continued to climb. Structural panels like plywood and OSB have been particularly hard to come by. The result for developers is construction delays and substantially increased building costs—sometimes adding millions of dollars to material expenses per project. Developers are looking for relief in the form of both alternative building materials and government intervention.
Demand for Multifamily Professionals Spikes in Q1
According to the latest jobs report from the National Apartment Association, property management jobs represented 37% of real estate jobs in the first quarter of 2021, marking an 8.5% jump above the previous five-year average. Leasing consultants were the most sought-after position by employers. The report also showed that openings in multifamily maintenance have increased by 2.1% since the first quarter of 2020. Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and New York City ranked highest in concentration of apartment-job availabilities. Demand for student-housing property management professionals was greatest in Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; College Station, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; and Tallahassee, Fla.