Sperry Van Ness International Corporation’s (SVNIC) 2015 Market Update Reports assess the current state of the national commercial real estate market, and identify micro-trends within specific geographic regions and industries for 2015. Today we are delving into the 2015 Top Multifamily Markets to Watch. Not the largest or the most actively contested markets, the 2015 Multifamily Markets to Watch are each at an important juncture that presents unique opportunities for investment. Together, they reflect the diversity of trends that is driving the economy and commercial real estate performance in markets across the country.
Top Multifamily Market to Watch: Austin, TX
Following sustained growth in demand from strong migration to Austin, apartment effective rents as of the first quarter of 2015 were more than 30% higher than in 2010. Developers have responded in force to the persistence of rent growth over the last half-decade. Deliveries exceeded 9,000 units in 2014 and another 8,000 are expected in 2015. Even in the context of Austin’s strong job growth numbers, the pipeline is deep. Axiometrics estimates that Austin had roughly three new jobs for every multifamily unit that came online last year; of the most active investment markets, only Washington, DC had a weaker ratio.
With significant new supply, the occupancy rate in Austin has fallen slightly and landlords in a few submarkets have increased concessions and other incentives in order to attract tenants. Local economists and real estate professionals have mixed views on what the shift in the balance of supply and demand will mean for rents in late 2015, with estimates ranging from 5% year-over-year growth to projections of short-lived flatlining or declining property income. Most prognosticators agree that centrally located neighborhoods will continue to show rental growth in spite of the concentration of new inventory in the urban core. Suburban submarkets could see smaller increases or even some effective rent decreases due to concessions. The underlying demand drivers in Austin are strong, however. The market ranked 6th in a recent Forbes list of Top 10 Labor Markets, with an unemployment rate below 4%, and a growth rate in the local economy of roughly 5%. For investors with longer time-horizons, that leaves room for rent growth to pick up again in the medium-term, offsetting the market’s current aggressive pricing.
To read more on Austin and other top multifamily markets, download the full version of the 2015 Multifamily Market Update report here.
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