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Apartments Battling Heavy Package Delivery Volume
Residents certainly were no strangers to online shopping before the coronavirus hit. But since the pandemic began, many leasing offices have been absolutely swamped with packages from Amazon and other e-retailers. According to a Fetch study, the per-unit package volume at multifamily communities increased by 59% from June 2019 to June 2020. Moreover, the surveyed properties averaged more than 10 package deliveries per apartment home this past May – higher than the rate they experienced during the preceding holiday shopping season. To add to the problem, the number of oversized packages – meaning those bigger than 4 cubic feet – is rising as well, further training onsite associates who are navigating an already challenging environment.
Mass Timber Gaining a Foothold in Apartment Construction
With the multifamily industry looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly, some developers are turning to the use of mass timber in the construction of new properties. A study by the Yale School of the Environment and the University of Washington College of the Environment says that using more wood and less steel and concrete in construction reduces global carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption. Also, construction timelines can be reduced by up to 25% when mass timber is used, according to the American Wood Council.
The Value of Comprehensive and Reliable Pet Data
Operators traditionally have been diligent about keeping detailed information about their residents’ cars. But they typically aren’t nearly as focused on collecting data about their residents’ pets. Unfortunately, this lack of information about renters’ furry friends can harm an owner’s efforts to sell a community, as today’s more sophisticated investors want to see this kind of data. Potential buyers want to know where opportunities may exist to increase pet revenue, maximize NOI and make pet-focused capital investments. To gather and maintain comprehensive pet-related statistics, many multifamily properties are turning to a tech-based approach.
IN THE NEWS
Rents are Falling in Many Major U.S. Markets
Since the start of the pandemic, rents have dropped in 41 of the 100 largest U.S. markets, according to a report by Apartment List. San Francisco has experienced the largest decrease – 17.8% – in average rent since March, followed by New York and Seattle, which have seen dips of 11.6% and 9.9%, respectively. Overall, the average national rent has declined by 1.4% in 2020. On the plus side, 59 of the largest 100 markets had month-over-month rent growth from August to September.
Lumber Prices Surge
While the cost of some materials needed for the construction of new apartments has dropped recently, the price of lumber is soaring. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, lumber prices were up 27% in September when compared to one year earlier. Lumber costs were rising even before the pandemic because of tariffs, experts say, but pandemic-induced supply shortages have driven up prices even further. By contrast, diesel fuel is down 7.3% from one year ago, while aluminum products and steel mill products have dipped by 9.8% and 11%, respectively.
NMHC President Says Affordability Crisis Will Intensify
Many renters were having a hard time finding affordable apartments before COVID-19 and the ensuing economic downturn. According to NMHC President Doug Bibby, the pandemic will exacerbate the already serious situation. “It’s an absolute certainty that we’re going to come out of this pandemic and out of this horrible downturn with the affordability crisis even worse than it was going into it,” he told Multifamily Executive. “People have exhausted their financial resources. The biggest single problem that we see hasn’t changed, and that is at the state and local level, zoning and land-use policies are still restrictive.”