By Chris Cobb | Associate
For my first ever multifamily conference, it was equal parts informative and productive. I couldn’t be happier than to experience this at the Bisnow Dallas Multifamily Conference. The panels were educational and eye-opening, the networking sessions were fruitful, and the venue was appropriately intimate. My colleague Stacy Taylor and I did not know what to expect as this was our inaugural multifamily conference. Our primary mission was to meet owners and asset managers. We were not only able to connect with them, but also learn much more about what is happening in the multifamily landscape. There are many facets to the multifamily market, however, three were reoccurring themes. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
It’s Not Where You Live, It’s How You Live
The current and future residents of multifamily properties are driven by amenities with an experience. As a matter of fact, dog washing stations with “yappy” hours and on-site massage therapists are two of the things residents demand and expect in both new and older assets. Rick Graf, the CEO of Pinnacle, gave an excellent first-hand account of the challenges faced by owners in their pursuit to keep residents happy and make their transition to living in an apartment seamless.
Rick and his wife recently sold their home and moved into an apartment which, he jovially remarked, they “pay way too much for.” The first thing he noticed was the contrast between not having a monthly mortgage payment to having a monthly rent payment due. This is an unnerving experience for anyone. So how can an owner make this less painless? An automated payment service that can be accessed and tracked via your mobile device is one way.
The (Perceived) Receding Horizon of Development
Here is another interesting find from the Bisnow Dallas Multifamily Conference. Out of the top 20 MSA’s in the United States, Houston is the only market where demand is outpacing supply. How can this be? Ricardo Rivas, CEO of Allied Orion Group, offered insight with a quick case study comparing Dallas with Houston. In Dallas, 30,000 units have been recently delivered with 30,000 under construction and 30,000 more planned. In Houston, 10,000 units were recently completed with 10,000 under construction and a lofty 20,000 more planned. While Houston has added over 50,000 in the last year, it seems that the Houston market has figured out the correct pace at which to develop the multifamily sector. Every market, even the tertiary ones along the Gulf Coast, can learn a valuable lesson from Houston.
The Hot Button Item for the Multifamily Living Experience: Packages
The issue of package delivery and retrieval was an issue even before e-commerce was as prolific as it is today. Last year, e-commerce accounted for 10% of all retail sales. Furthermore, it is important to note that this figure is growing by an average of 25% each year. As a result, the packages will continue to pile up. So how does one stay ahead of the curve?
Fetch could be the answer. Based out of Dallas, this off-site delivery service connects with residents via their cell phone and provides a calendar with 2-hour delivery windows. The service runs 7 days a week, with packages being delivered as late at 11 pm. Today, residents typically must rush home after work, have a friend or neighbor pick up in their stead, or wait until a weekday to retrieve their items. Not only does Fetch increase the sheer amount of delivery times for residents, it also provides a degree of freedom never offered previously.
There they are. The 3 takeaways from my initial multifamily conference. Amenities are going beyond a pool or workout room, tenants want experiences. It is imperative markets develop their multifamily sector at the correct pace. Technology is key to take advantage of the e-commerce trends spreading like wildfire. For me, networking never stops. Reach out to me if you want to connect to go over more of these reoccurring themes in multifamily!