Josh Cabrera, CFA
Senior Research Analyst, Real Assets
Amid ongoing vaccination progress and an improving U.S. economy, we are seeing a recovery across property sectors – those that were most impacted by the pandemic as well as those that proved relatively resilient, like the multifamily sector. Apartment landlords have greater flexibility to adjust rents at a faster pace than other core sectors, allowing the group to better adjust to landscape changes accelerated by the COVID pandemic and near-term inflationary trends. This, in turn, gives investors the opportunity to position their portfolios to capitalize on these relative advantages.
Already, overall apartment occupied stock has increased to a level 20% above the prior 2000 peak. This demand has driven up effective multifamily rent growth, as seen in the chart above. While expected to moderate from here, national apartment rent growth is forecasted to stay above recent levels, increasing an average of 4.7% and 4.5% in 2021 and 2022, respectively1, driven by ongoing economic expansion and an expected hiring boom. The U.S. economy is expected to add an estimated 12 million new jobs between 2021 and 2023, particularly impacting demand across sunbelt regions and tech hubs, where suburban rentals have outperformed and urban core sub-sectors have rebounded. ² On an ongoing basis, flexible work from home policies will impact where people prefer to live, likely pushing the demand for additional living space and driving effective rents across unit types.
From here, with the added uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 variants, we may see multifamily demand and rent continue upward, or we may see the sector lose momentum from increasing supply or the downstream effects of the recent end to the eviction moratorium. Ultimately, we will continue to look for the best risk/reward opportunities in the evolving real estate space, helping our clients maneuver through the changing dynamics.
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