Industry Trends Report | Wk of June 22
HOT & RELEVANT TOPICS
How Covid-19 Has Impacted Communities of Color
The pandemic might not discriminate on the basis of who can acquire coronavirus, but its impact has been disproportionate in the apartment industry. Communities of color have been overwhelmingly affected, as black individuals have been hospitalized at twice the rate. In areas such as Chicago, blacks have accounted for 70% of virus-related deaths while comprising only 30% of the population. Socioeconomic factors, such as housing density and quality of housing, are among the factors that help the disease spread, underscoring the need to fund affordable housing. While changes in housing policies are being explored, operators can make an immediate impact by donating to nonprofits in areas more vulnerable to the recession.
Three Ways Luxury Apartment Buildings Offer Virtual Amenities
With residents staying at home more at historic rates during the pandemic, some luxury communities are using technology to help make indoor life more tolerable. That includes in-house virtual programming, which enables residents to keep their Wednesday night yoga meeting, watch cooking classes hosted by a resident or participate in a virtual Q&A with a local medical professional. Some communities have booked live entertainment to play poolside, allowing residents to watch from their balconies or access the personalized show via live feed. “The response has been very positive thus far,” said Ashley Wade, general manager at Gio Midtown in Miami.
Nurturing Culture During a Crisis
Since the pandemic hit, the Cardinal Group has found success through a commitment to transparency in its communications and engagement with its teams and residents. Peter Lynch, head of people and culture at Cardinal Group, said acknowledging failures and openly addressing concerns through daily calls and live streams with company leadership have made a tremendous difference in navigating Covid-19 concerns. In response to the financial hardships experienced by some associates, Cardinal executives volunteered to take reduced salaries or defer that money to benevolence funds within the company. Cardinal also launched a program called Cardinal Heroes, where associates can nominate teammates who are operating in a heroic way and promote a positive workplace culture.
IN THE NEWS
Multifamily Owners, Operators Navigate Reopening Plans
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all playbook for reopening apartment communities during the pandemic. Operators continue to adapt to prioritize employees and residents, while continuing to heed guidance from local health departments and the CDC. They’re relying heavily on their onsite teams to navigate the nuances of each particular market. Increased sanitation services look like they’re here to stay, and although common areas are reopening in phases, managers don’t expect the current phase to conclude before the end of the year. Companies that embraced technology like virtual tours and self-guided tours have had an easier time managing the pandemic, and multifamily companies are sharing best practices and procedures.
Protesters Take to NYC Streets to Protest Evictions
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last month extended eviction moratoriums until Aug. 20, but that only applies to those unemployed or suffering financial hardships due to COVID-19. On Monday, New York City protesters rallied outside courthouses demanding extensions or permanent eviction bans, using the hashtag #cancelrent to fuel the cause. According to the Ithaca Tenants Union, Cuomo’s ban isn’t a blanket moratorium and operators could begin pursuing evictions on residents beginning June 20. More than 50 New York legislators and organizers have pleaded with Cuomo to extend an all-encompassing eviction moratorium.
Are Renters Really Set to Move to the Suburbs
Personal space became a priority during the pandemic. Urban environments aren’t always conducive to social distancing, which means the suburbs could gain popularity with renters. But multifamily’s migration to the suburbs might have already been inevitable. As some urban areas became overbuilt, suburban apartment communities started to see rent growth around 2014, according to a new report from PGIM Real Estate. Also, as millennials grow up they’re leaving high-density areas to start families. Additionally, with more people working from home during the pandemic and requiring designated office spaces, the demand for larger apartments continues to send more renters to the ‘burbs.