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March 4, 2015

Urbanizing the Suburbs

Residential developers are returning to the suburbs – creating new, high-density, urban-style downtown areas in the suburbs.

Throughout the long recovery, leading apartment developers and institutional investors focused their energy on a handful of downtown neighborhoods in the biggest U.S. cities. Now there are few sites left in these prime markets, and the competition for these sites is tremendous.

Developers can find less-expensive opportunities in suburban towns outside of major cities.  Many are building new, town-center-style projects that provide a bustling, urban style of living. “A builder can deliver that [style of living] 20 miles from downtown. Or 60. Or more,” according to a recent story in Builder magazine.

NMHC’s Quarterly Survey (3Q2104) investigated urban vs. suburban development and found new construction expanding more broadly into suburbs, namely town center-style developments.

Developers haven’t totally given up on sprawl. Many builders have revived construction projects that stalled in the crash to build huge single-family homes located a long drive for shopping and services. However, job growth – and the long-term focus for new development – is now focused on downtowns, not on sprawling office parks.

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Leadership: Everyone Talks About it, These Guys Did It

There is a lot of business press ink devoted to identifying it, educating one on how to become one and evaluating various leadership strategies. For me, I want to hear from real leaders who have been tested and who have come out on the other side with practical and actionable advice that I can apply to my daily work. We heard from three battle-tested leaders at the NMHC Annual Meeting.


Embrace Disruption - or Be Disrupted

The apartments industry has had several good years – and that’s exactly the time when industry leaders should think about new technologies that could deeply change the business. “The seeds of disruption are usually planted when the company is at its peak,” says Rick Haughey, vice president for industry technology initiatives at NMHC.


Property Managers Face Conflicting Marijuana Laws

With medical marijuana now legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and recreational use legal in four more, property owners and managers are now in the crossfire between state regulations and federal laws. This conflict complicates decision making for property owners and has implications for lending requirements and disclosures, subsidized housing policies, privacy rights, landlord/tenant disputes and habitability standards.


Greystar Management Piloting Smart Home Product

The Internet of Things is bringing more automation into homes. With most of the activity focused on single-family houses, Greystar is partnering with one firm that has turned its attention to the rental sector.  While it remains to be seen whether the numbers pencil out, giving residents more information to help control utility costs might be a marketing asset. It might also help apartments compete with ownership for those residents who want the latest new gadgets but can’t gain access to them in an apartment.


The Need for Affordable Multifamily Rental Housing

“A large gap exists between the incomes of many American households and the cost of building and maintaining safe and decent housing,” according to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The report highlights existing affordable housing programs that could help close the gap.


The Only Meeting Dedicated to Multifamily Research

Learn from the top researchers in their fields on how falling oil prices, the apartment supply pipeline, the single-family housing upheaval and new demographic changes will affect your business in 2015. Highlights include a discussion on diversity explosion by noted demographer William Frey, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution.


New Approach to Spring Board of Directors Meeting

A few hundred of the industry’s most senior executives will gather in New York City on April 21-23 for NMHC’s most exclusive meeting of the year. This year we are making some strategic changes to make this high-level event more valuable, including expanding the meeting, adding in more speakers from outside the industry and focusing on what should be on the CEOs radar.
In Case You Missed It
A hand-selected collection of noteworthy articles on a wide variety of issues of interest to apartment executives.
Mission Statements Metastasize

The Millennials According to Goldman Sachs

Apartment Owners Planning More Evictions after Airbnb Ruling

California Offers Energy Efficiency Financing

Interest Rate Watch: The Economist

Real Estate Crowdfunding Seen Topping $2.5 Billion in ’15

Is the West Coast the Best Coast

Strong Economic Growth Coming for 2015: Fannie Mae

Higher Leverage for CMBS Loans

Forest City Enterprises Hopes to Unload More Real Estate on Road to REIT Conversion

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A must-read for top apartment industry professionals, Apartment Wire is a timely review of emerging trends in apartment finance, development, management and technology and more, featuring both exclusive content from NMHC's staff of experts and provocative articles from across the web.
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Upcoming Meetings

2015 NMHC Research Forum

April 1-2, 2015
Georgetown University Conference Center in Washington, DC

2015 NMHC Spring Board of Directors Meeting

April 21 - 23, 2015
Waldorf Astoria New York  in New York, NY

2015 NMHC Emerging Leaders Speaker Series - NYC

April 21, 2015
JP Morgan Headquarters in New York, NY

Multifamily Market Dashboard

Vacancies Will Rise, Income Growth Will Fall in 2015: Freddie Mac

More vacant apartments and slower rent growth with hit apartment markets in 2015 -- but the trend lines are still better than usual for the apartment business, according to the 2015 Multifamily Outlook from Freddie Mac.

Vacancy rates are projected to increase to 4.8 percent while gross income growth will slow to 3.1 percent in 2015 as new completions enter the market. “We expect multifamily completions to surpass the long-run average in 2015 and remain above the average for the next few years,” said Freddie Mac. “Counterbalancing this, we anticipate demand for multifamily units to remain strong in 2015.”

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