Renter Nation; A Robust Apartment Development Pipeline Feeds Sustained Demand for Rental Housing

A decade into this growth cycle, apartment developers in many metro areas still can’t build projects fast enough to keep up with demand. At the same time, rising costs and increased competition for renters are pushing both developers and investors to fine-tune late-cycle strategies to avoid potential missteps. Industry data sources paint much the same picture. Vacancies remain incredibly tight with rent growth that is still positive, although moderate, and outpacing the rate of inflation. According to a Mid-Year Market Update from Freddie Mac, national vacancy rates were hovering at 4.1 percent with annual rent growth averaging 4 percent. Data from Reis show stable, but slightly higher vacancies at 4.7 percent and effective rents that increased by 1.3 percent in the second quarter. “Everything that I see and read seems to indicate that we have more runway left in terms of the positive metrics that are contributing to multifamily being the darling of real estate,” says Reid Bennett, CCIM, senior vice president, National Council Chair of Multifamily at Sperry Van Ness | Chicago Commercial. Some believe that sustained demand represents a secular shift in housing. “I think we’re more of a renter nation now,” says Bennett. People across the spectrum from baby boomers to millennials and up-and-coming Generation Z appreciate the flexibility of not having to mow the grass or be tied to a home if they want to move to another city. They also saw friends and family that either lost homes or lost significant equity during the Great Recession, notes Bennett. “[O]wning a home has become less and less a part of the American dream,” he says. Click to read more at