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Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
With multifamily communities seeing an upswing in both new construction and occupancy across the country, it’s no surprise that, in the metropolis that is San Francisco, this growth has resulted in a market that is seeing huge increases in both price per square foot and overall rents. Experts are attributing the high demand for rentals in an area to the city’s better than average employment rates. With flocks of job seekers and new startups flooding into the city, the current limited supply of available units is causing prices to naturally increase, hence the multifamily rental market equivalent of a perfect storm. With an average one-bedroom unit in the city commanding a minimum of around $1,895 a month and up to over $3,500 in some areas, rents are considerably higher than most competitive markets in the country. As a matter of fact, on the sales side of the market, price per square foot for communities with more than five units in popular areas like Marin are averaging around $298 per square foot, while previously less popular areas like Tenderloin are seeing averages in the range of $357 per square foot. On the higher end of multifamily property in San Francisco, areas like Hayes Valley are seeing an average of $426 per square foot, the Telegraph Hill neighborhood has properties listed in the $490 per square foot range, and the Pacific Heights neighborhood is commanding a whopping $526 per square foot. By far, the area seeing the biggest spike in overall sales is the...

Posted by on in Property Management
Of course fire safety is important everyone however, to the Multifamily professional it is very important.  Here are a few tips for you to consider: 1.  Review your fire insurance policy.  If you do not have enough coverage, make the changes now before a fire.2.  Walk yn routes are posted in every floor and by elevators ( elevators are not safe to use in the event of a fire.3.  If you have a community association or can arrange a meeting with all residents, do so inviting a member of your fire      department to speak.  This can be a fun as well as educational event.4.  Make sure EXIT lights are bright and clearly visible, fire extinguishers are current and easily accessible,    fire hydrants are not obscured by plants or signs and "Fire Lanes" are clearly marked and stay clear. 5.  Replace batteries in all smoke detectors.  There should be at lease one in each unit.  If the property is heated by gas or      coal each unit should have a carbon monoxide detector.  Carbon monoxide is a orderless killer.6.  Have a staff member check the lint filter in the dryers each morning.  While you are at it, have heating units     serviced and cleaned.  Debris collected over the summer can easily ignite when the heat is turned on.7.  Your fire marshal or other fire official may have tips that uniquely apply to your property, even if you are required to        have a fire safety inspection yearly, a tour of the property...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
When it comes to investing in rental properties, the common question is: “Which is better, multifamily or single?” Now, first and foremost, you must have the funds to acquire a multifamily property, which can run into the ballpark of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. But, this aside, we’re going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re considering a purchase of either a multifamily property or several single family homes. In this case, we’re going to provide a breakdown of the benefits of ownership of each option. We only present the benefits because you can assume the benefits of one do not exist in the other; hence, the comparison. Single Family Rentals The positives of owning single family homes are many. They are smaller properties, with less work and maintenance. Because of this, they do not require on-property management, which can instead be handled by an off-property management company or personally by the owner. Single family home owners benefit from lower taxes when compared with those imposed on multifamily properties. There is also a higher appreciation typically associated with single family homes. While multifamily properties can turn a significant profit over time, the flipping game is something to be reserved for single family homes. Probably the biggest selling point of buying a single family home is its selling point. Multifamily properties are large, more expensive, and reserved for investors. So, there isn’t going to be as large of a market as for single family properties, meaning a faster...

Posted by on in Property Management
There are some properties that just lend themselves to student housing. They are located close to a college, university, or vocational institution; offer a number of student-required amenities such as are filled with other students; and offer student-friendly rents. Apartment complexes or multifamily properties are more likely to become “known” as student-friendly, but it’s just as likely for single family rental homes to do the same. Regardless of the type of rental property you own or are considering for an investment, there are some pros and cons you need to consider: Pro: Demand is something many student designated properties hardly ever, if ever, have to worry about. With every semester comes a new wave of students in need of off-campus housing. As long the educational institution is near-by, the demand remains. Con: Turnover is the flipside of the demand coin. While students likely always be lined up to fill vacancies, high turnover is intrinsic to this market. It’s not only a pretty good bet that most tenants will only stay 9-12 months, and at most 2 or 3 years, there is also a higher rate of incidence with this group of skipping out early on a lease. Pro: Economics are another significant factor on the side of investors. Even with a steady decline in enrollment since 2009, there are still more than 19 million students attending colleges and universities nationwide.  And, the National Center for Education Statistics forecasts enrollment growth to increase to 24 million by 2022. Combine this knowledge...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Content is everywhere. Every webpage, every blog, social media post, every last corner of the internet is filled with content. A lot of it is well-written, informative, and interest-grabbing; but mountains of it is poorly-written, useless, and—worst of all—boring. That’s a major problem for a company that is trying to build an audience. After all, there are many inexpensive ways to attract new readers to a site; but there’s only one truly reliable method for keeping them coming day after day, and that is creating quality content. Here are a few tips for ensuring that the content you post remains quality, whether it’s on your homepage, blog, or social media. Purpose In The Matrix Reloaded, Agent Smith tells Neo that “without purpose, we would not exist.” Unfortunately, the same is not true of all content on the internet. Let’s start be defining what we mean by purpose. “To bring readers and prospective customers to our website” is not a purpose. Not really. That’s like saying, “my purpose is to make friends,” and expecting people to like you for it. If you want to make friends, you have to do more than simply exist—you need to be engaging, polite, and pleasant. So when I say that your writing must have purpose, I’m saying that your writing must be aimed at a specific goal that will be of use to your audience. If you’re writing homepage content for a property website, then your purpose might be “to clearly convey the benefits and appeal of living in this community.”...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
As the number of renters packing up increases, during one of the busiest moving months of the year, Apartments.com has compiled a list of the 14 Most Expensive Neighborhoods for Renters in 2014. By adding up a variety of financial factors contributing to the overall cost of living—including average cost of rent, household income, percentage of paycheck spent on rent each month and inflation—renters can now see what it takes to live like the glitterati.   1. New York City: Penn Plaza/Garment District  Average Cost of Monthly Rent (1 BR): $4,440 Also known as the Fashion District, this neighborhood of less than one square mile is home to the majority of New York’s showrooms, numerous fashion labels, businesses and talent.  2. New York City: DUMBO Average Cost of Monthly Rent (1 BR): $4,023 An acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO), this Brooklyn neighborhood is walkable, has waterfront access, and is abuzz with a thriving art scene, designer boutiques and Indy bookstores. DUMBO is also a hub for tech companies. 3. San Francisco: Yerba Buena  Average Cost of Monthly Rent (1 BR): $3,643 One of San Francisco’s most dynamic areas packed with cultural institutions, shopping, urban green spaces and fine dining, this neighborhood attracts an eclectic crowd made up of urbanistas, fashionistas, entrepreneurs, foodies, retirees, night clubbers, hard workers and technologists. 4. Boston: Government Center  Average Cost of Monthly Rent (1 BR): $3,782 Located in downtown Boston, the most dominant feature of this neighborhood is Boston City Hall, which...

Posted by on in Property Management
When you’re a multifamily property owner, or the owner of any rental property, for that matter, you have to prepare yourself to be faced with and manage a great variety of people, personalities, and the challenges that can accompany them. You can control and protect yourself and the property against the potential issues posed by people with bad credit, criminal records, and prior eviction lawsuits. What you can’t control are the unknowns that come with every other tenant. Take Ms. Brown in 2A, for example. She moved in two years ago and seemed to be the model tenant. Always on time with her rent, quiet and respectful, and kept to herself. But, several months ago, she stopped coming out except on the rare occasion to take out the trash. Even then, other tenants noted odd behavior, and commented on the length of time it took her to discard the bag. Sometimes she even decided not to do so and returned with it to her unit instead. It was when her neighbor in 1A started complaining of a smell wafting through the vents that it became necessary to take action. The owner, friends, and family are utterly shocked to discover the conditions in which Ms. Brown has been living, at least for several months, if not more. She has stacks of items grouped in every room in the unit. She is using every available surface to her to stack and store a wide variety of items—from old newspapers, bills, and magazines,...

Posted by on in Multifamily Industry News and Trends
The Freddie Mac Multifamily Midyear Outlook for 2014 contains some points that desperately want to be positive, paired with some estimates and forecasts that paint what could be a very different picture for the multifamily housing market. The take-away seems to be that we should expect volatile market conditions to continue into the next year or so, prime time for investors to do minimal capital improvements in preparation for eventual increased market demand. The report reveals that, by all estimates, more than 3.9 million new households should have been formed during the Great Recession, weren't. Whether that's a result of the shifting cultural landscape or symptomatic of a “failure to launch” generation, prognosticators tend to assume that the trend won't continue and that Millennials will start setting up house on their own as they find jobs. Younger households are more prone to renting, especially now that housing starts are low and home loans are harder to get. Freddie Mac's Steve Guggenmoss says multifamily investors should expect to feel a pinch in the next few months as occupancy rates drop. In the face of such guarded optimism about those Millennials finally “launching” and getting their own jobs and places to live, that warning looks more like the agency is taking a “wait and see” approach to what's coming down the pike for multifamily housing. Basically, there are two possibilities for the market: Scenario 1: Steady Economic Recovery Millennials currently living with their parents get jobs, keeping a 13-year-low occupancy rate near...

Posted by on in Apartment Investment
Many indicators in the U.S. still point toward achingly slow economic recovery in the coming months and years. A recent study cites a significant one-month Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) gain as a sign that investors are starting to believe the economy will continue to improve. According to NAREIT's Brad Case, a 3.4 percent increase in August 2014 REIT returns means three things: Economic recovery will continue, albeit slowly, for the foreseeable future Demand for commercial real estate will increase, indicating business sector and job growth Rents and occupancy rates will increase as lagging construction fails to meet increased demand While this is a rather simplistic set of deductions from the FTSE NAREIT All REITs Index report, history shows that a bull market such as this one has become generally has a run of about 15 years. An S&P bull market, on the other hand, usually only lasts four. That means that REITs are a better indicator of long-term financial health and stability than the stock market. So, where is the smart investor looking for steady increases in returns and overall market stability? REITs. And, they're diversifying their holdings. The best performers in the market were those in infrastructure, health care, and timber. That represents a significant change over recent years, indicating that REIT investors, according to Case, are becoming more comfortable diversifying their portfolios and expanding their horizons. The result, he said, will be that investors enjoy less portfolio volatility moving into a long-awaited investors' market. The broader picture...

Posted by on in Student Housing
At the start of 2014, many analysts were expressing deep concern about the number of new student housing developments scheduled for delivery in time for the Fall 2014 semester. With the new academic year well under way, it seems safe to say their fears about potential oversupply were wrong.   About 65,000 new beds were delivered to the privately owned, purpose-built student housing sector this fall - approximately 6,700 more than last year - and the overall performance has proven stronger than it was one year ago.  Occupancy in already existing off-campus properties averaged 95.8% in September 2014 on a same-store basis, some 190 basis points (bps) higher than the 93.9% recorded in September 2013.   At times, media have reported that properties were struggling to fill beds, with too much supply being the supposed culprit. As seen in the chart below, those low occupancy rates are outliers, as most properties achieved an occupancy rate greater than 90% by September 2014, even those more than one mile from campus. Similar outliers can be found in other real estate sectors, and there is often an underlying reason for the performance that has little to do with supply.     Anyone following prelease occupancy rates throughout the leasing season saw the hints of stronger performance for Fall 2014. It was obvious in November and December last year that beds were being leased at a faster clip than the previous year. While the spread in outperformance narrowed during the spring months, properties made a...