Making Sense of the Multifamily Market Today – June 2022

The multifamily market right now is the strangest in my rather brief vocation (12 years). The selection of opportunity financial outcomes is huge, and I definitely deficiency the encounter to assess the influence inflation, premiums, and a economic downturn may possibly have on the multifamily industry in excess of the around-expression.

What’s fantastic about possessing this outlet is that I get to write things down and imagine out loud, documenting my views and doing my ideal to make perception of the market place.

When admittedly I’m not positive what’s likely to transpire, the in excess of-used adage rings genuine – whilst history may not repeat itself, it does rhyme.  

Let’s split issues down into a pair different segments inflation/prices, one-household housing, supply/desire fundamentals, and concerns/factors to watch.

Inflation / Rates

Real estate, and multifamily in particular, is a great inflation hedge. Rents reset each day, and leases typically roll each and every 12 months. Lease expansion at our current homes have much outpaced inflation.

Although inflation fears are substantial now, the consensus is that it will be tamed, but at what price? 

Supplied inflation is a rather shorter-expression issue, the industry is reacting extra acutely to the increase in curiosity charges. The surge in borrowing expenditures have driven up cap fees and introduced the money markets to a momentary freeze. This has been most noteworthy on benefit-incorporate discounts where buyer’s generally place on significant leverage.

I hope costs to remain significant, but normalize and occur again down as economic downturn fears established in. Spreads should also stabilize as we get far more clarity on the market place route.

One-Spouse and children Housing

The solitary-family members housing industry is terribly unhealthy currently. Logan Mohtashami from HousingWire has the some of the clearest housing investigation which goes like this (based mostly mostly on this post):

  • The operate up in housing selling prices more than the past 2 several years has been driven mostly by stock staying at all-periods lows at a time when housing demographics had been extremely powerful. 
  • Inventory has been steadily falling since 2014 and is in an harmful placement nowadays. Traditionally stock stages are amongst 2 million and 2.5 million. We started off 2022 at just 870,000 households for sale.
  • A position-loss economic downturn would be essential to generate any form of distress. Nonetheless, the client is in a powerful monetary placement currently.   
  • Increased prices will slow housing demand and we’re by now viewing buy purposes slowing, but it is heading to just take a whilst for stock degrees to maximize drastically.

Unaffordable housing is a boon for multifamily desire in the brief-time period, but above the prolonged-expression greater fees will gradual housing demand and moderate pricing, so making single-family housing extra very affordable.

The Renter

American consumers reman in excellent financial wellbeing owing to the combination of a powerful labor industry, wage development, reduced leverage, and run up in housing charges and the inventory market place.

A single of the most significant drivers and just one of the most important dilemma marks now is what transpires to renter domestic incomes goin forward. When I wrote about the SE multifamily marketplace back in January, I questioned ‘are rents outpacing wages in these markets to these types of an prolong that there are not plenty of substantial-having to pay jobs to assist them?’

That remains the biggest query about the multifamily industry these days. Incomes and rents are closely corelated. As costs go on to surge, most notably payroll, insurance, utilities, R&M, and taxes, there continues to be strain to press rents.

If wage growth stagnates, we’ll see more doubling up, decreased retention, and a reduction in new lease demand from customers. See the chart under from Jay Parsons of RealPage demonstrating the restricted correlation in between incomes and rents.

Multifamily Provide/Demand from customers

Demand from customers

The multifamily fundamentals continue to be sturdy. Career expansion and wage growth are equally envisioned to stay balanced. Additionally, the uncoupling of younger grownups from mothers and fathers and roommates will continue to benefit in close proximity to expression demand from customers. Even so, the demographics soften as the 25–34-year-old cohort grows at <0.5% per year over the next 3 years, then declines starting in 2025 (Green Street).

Additionally, the recent rise in rates and the likely impending recession may lead to hiring freezes and layoffs in certain sectors, resulting in slower than expected job growth.   

Revenue growth will continue to be strong due to mark-to-market of the rent roll (especially in the Sunbelt) but will likely slow due to deteriorating macroeconomic conditions.


On the supply side, development delays have helped insulate apartment fundamentals. However, supply will grow over the coming years as the units under construction eventually deliver and the starts/permits continue to accelerate.  

Tightening credit markets and rising construction costs may restrain supply in the short-term, but rising rents (and attractive profit margins) will keep a floor under starts.

Supply will vary by market with the Sunbelt markets seeing accelerating supply growth over the next 2-3 years. There are no absorption issues today, and broad-based excesses in supply are unlikely in the near-term given the strong demand, but select markets are heading for over-supply.  

Questions/Things to Watch

  • Are we heading for a recession and if so, how severe will it be?
  • Will the labor market remain tight and will wage growth continue?
  • Will supply catch up to demand and are select markets over-supplied?
  • Are rents outpacing wage growth, leading to expanding rent-to-income ratios?
  • Will rates normalize then begin to decline as recession fears set it?
  • When will supply-chain issues taper and will construction costs come back down any time soon?

While this is my attempt of making sense of today’s market, I remain focused on buying and building multifamily assets to hold long-term in markets with strong fundamentals.