Sustainable Slopes Dec18

Sustainable Slopes

While offering mountains of fun in a winter wonderland, ski resorts also take sustainability seriously. Almost 200 resorts, more than 75% of the U.S. total, have endorsed “Sustainable Slopes,” the National Ski Areas Assn.’s (NSAA’s) Environmental Charter that incorporates principles for ski area planning, operations and outreach. As climate change concerns and consumers’ environmental awareness grow, NSAA and other ski resort stakeholders are devising strategies to “help ski resorts transfer the concept of sustainability from one involving a few disparate energy and efficiency projects to a comprehensive a holistic way of doing business, and one that will seriously enhance the long-term prospects of the areas that adopt them,” as described by the ski magazine Powder. The latest annual report from NSAA, a trade association for alpine resorts, summarizes progress in water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction and recycling made by more than 300 ski areas that responded to a survey. One destination highlighted in the NSAA annual report, Boreal Mountain Resort & Soda Springs in California, has pledged to reduce its 2011 emissions levels by 25% by 2020. Resort managers retired less efficient vehicles, retrofitted night lighting infrastructure and installed solar panels that will generate 325,000 KwH annually. Another resort, Montana’s Bridger Bowl, offers free electric bus service on weekends as an alternative to single-occupant vehicles. And Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Frisco, Colo., installed electric vehicle charging stations, commingled recycling, composting and scrap steel recycling, and completed a building lighting retrofit. Opportunities for sustainability extend to a ski resort’s sine qua non: snow. An NSAA fact sheet notes that while snowmaking isn’t considered a consumptive act—most of the water diverted from streams for snowmaking returns to the watershed—opportunities abound to execute the process more efficiently: employing efficient snow-guns to increase the...

Sharing Disruption

Coworking isn’t new, but its recent growth and prominence in the U.S. office market space is. A new special report from Yardi Matrix, titled “Shared Space: Disrupting the Traditional Office,” outlines the dramatic increase in shared spaces over the past year, driven by a growing “gig economy” and employers’ desire to deploy more workers remotely, attract talent and gain more flexibility for their space. In researching 20 metros, Yardi Matrix found that 43.5 million square feet of office space was being rented as of the fourth quarter of 2018. This represented a 62% increase in shared space over the previous year and 1.7% of the total inventory. The business model for shared space is evolving to match the practice’s growth, with landlords and brokerage firms offering more amenities and flexible lease arrangements. Coworking has gained footholds in both urban markets (2.2% of stock) and suburban submarkets (1.2%). The practice is “growing as a percentage of office stock in all areas, but it is a more natural fit in urban settings due to the proximity to a greater number of workers, easier commute to urban locations and greater availability of small rental spaces in suburban areas,” the report says. “The sector is in a nascent phase, so the pace of growth is likely to pick up in coming years.” Manhattan, N.Y., ranked first in both overall amount of shared space with 13.7 million square feet, with Los Angeles second with 4.7 million square feet. The borough also had the most shared space as a percentage of total stock, 3%, with Portland, Ore., Miami, San Francisco and Austin, Texas, totaling 2.5%, 2.4%, 2.3% and 2.2%, respectively. Read the full Yardi Matrix special...

Sharing Literacy

Students third grade academic performance can foreshadow setbacks that they may face in adulthood. Students who cannot proficiently read by the third grade are more likely to struggle in class, drop out of school and face incarceration. TutorMate, an Innovations for Learning program, helps to prepare students for success in school and in adulthood. The program uses technology to pair students with volunteers for remote tutoring sessions. During each 30-minute session, they read stories and play games together that build comprehension and fluency. The program has achieved replicable results, such as an 18-point reading score improvement in Chicago and 14-point reading score gain in Washington, DC. Volunteers from 27 cities representing more than 200 corporations, universities and governmental agencies participate in the program. Nearly 10,000 students benefit from their volunteerism. Amy Thomas, a customer service representative in Yardi’s Colorado Springs office, introduced the program to her colleagues in the summer of 2018. Ten volunteers were needed to kick off the effort – within a day, she had filled the signup roster. The team is working with a school in the Denver area. From their desks, Yardi employees give a half hour of their time once a week to connect with their students. “Reading is essential for success in the future, so this really makes a difference,” said Thomas, who became familiar with the program at a previous job. “Knowing that we’re making a difference in our community, and seeing the progress with your students each week – that’s great for both the employee and the student.” Connections with the first graders are easy and natural, she said. Stephanie Eide, associate technical account manager in Colorado Springs, is among the volunteers. “I have a daughter who is also learning to read so I wanted to help,” said Eide. “I loved reading as a kid, so I love that I can help other kids love it as well. Some kids need more practice and I love that I can offer that to them.” Eide knew that she was paired with the right student when she found out that they shared Halloween birthdays. “I don’t meet very many people that share my birthday. So you also get to be somewhat of a mentor to them as well!” During a typical session, Eide and her student buddy begin with flashcards. They then read a few short stories and complete comprehension questions. “There are also games we play,” said Eide. “Her favorite is tic tac toe. If you can read the word in the box you get an X or O. She usually beats me. It is so much fun. She is very smart and is gets better at reading every week!” Thomas is hoping to introduce other Yardi offices around the country to the nationwide program. For more information about how to participate, you can email her at amy.thomas@yardi.com Yardi is Energized for Good – and you can join in! TutorMate is accepting new volunteers. Groups can register to participate in upcoming...

7 Must-Have Apps

There are thousands of apps that claim to make your job easier. Since it is impossible to try them all, we’ve narrowed down the options for you! These seven apps complement the social media, communication, and content creation features on Yardi’s RENTCafé suite. Social Media Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the US. Once you get the basics of creating a post, these apps can take your social media strategy to the next level. When users visit your Instagram profile, they can see multiple posts at once in a grid layout. Polish your profile with Planoly, a visual planner that allows you to create the most beautiful and impactful grid. You can also benefit from the app’s engagement data for each post. Instagram Stories is woefully awkward. Creating informative and engaging 15-second clips on your smartphone requires a lot of choppy starting and stopping. Fortunately, CutStory for Instagram does the work for you. Create a single, full-length video and CutStory will divide it up for you. This is a great tool for repurposing your YouTube and Facebook videos. Communication Video calls are an excellent way to conduct personalized property tours and meetings with remote clients. Google Duo is a versatile app for video calls that works for Android and iOS devices. You can even use it over WiFi, minimizing data usage. Content Creation Create professional-looking images with Afterlight 2. This free photo editing app features text, filters, and enhancement tools for eye-catching images. It offers comparable quality to subscription apps and can be used on iOs, Android, and Windows devices. As a blogger, I know how difficult it is to get people to stop and read! Infographics are a hot way to share information in easy-to-consume snippets, enhanced with...

Word of Mouth Isn’t Dead Dec13

Word of Mouth Isn’t Dead...

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is an old hat that has learned new tricks. Nielsen reports that 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. A study by The American Marketing Association adds that 64 percent of marketing executives believe that word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. So why have only six percent of marketers mastered the new potential WOMM? WOMM with Purpose Jay Baer’s latest book, “Talk Triggers,” explores how businesses can capitalize on WOMM. His first tip is to strategize. Too often, businesses rely on happenstance, like tripping on a rock and noticing that it’s a chunk of gold. But by intentionally creating word of mouth opportunities, you get people to talk on purpose and control the message. Next, Baer recommends repeatable strategies. One-hit-wonders don’t build a brand. What can you do, and continue to do, to keep customers talking? Doubletree’s free cookie program is a prime example of intentional, repeatable WOMM. Every check-in and free cookie is a WOMM opportunity. More than 25 years later, the free cookies still generate buzz. Learn from Sprint’s Mistake Lastly, Baer encourages businesses to be unique. Sprint demonstrates how sameness backfires. Sprint hired actor Paul Marcarelli, formerly of the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” campaign. Verizon’s campaign, which lasted for nearly a decade, was a huge success. Sprint’s attempt at piggy backing on that success only sort of worked. Sprint spokesperson David Tovar told the New York Times that the new commercial was viewed 14 million times on YouTube. Nearly 1,000 articles (including this one) mention Marcarelli’s brand switch. Sprint’s Marcarelli stunt stimulated more than 3 billion impressions but the conversation wasn’t exactly good. Few consumers talked about Sprint’s improved network. People wanted...

Snapchat for Student Housing Dec12

Snapchat for Student Housing

Of the top five most popular social media apps, Snapchat is the most cryptic to navigate and has the shortest content lifespan. Those are two reasons why young adults love Snapchat, and your student housing community can benefit from loving it, too. So Snapchat…Who Cares? Snapchat doesn’t offer traditional menus for navigation. It’s all about exploration and being in-the-know. The small nuggets of content posted by users can disappear in a fewer than 24 hours. If your student housing brand uses Snapchat, you’re demonstrating that you are relevant, timely, and engaging. Your prowess can place you in front of the eyes of more than 130 million students. About 77 percent of college students use Snapchat and they use it often. Nearly 80 percent of users log in into Snapchat daily. On average, they send 34 snaps each day. With your content in the midst of the action, you can make major impressions. How to Use Snapchat for Student Housing The content in Snapchat has a very short lifespan. As such, your posted content may have a quick expiration date. Use snaps to explore limited-time offers at your property. Maybe you take Snapchatters on a tour of an available unit. Perhaps you use the platform to market a move-in promotion. Snapchat provides an opportunity to highlight content with a short shelf life. Snaps are also great for “setting the scene,” depicting what it’s like to live in your neighborhood. Create short videos and pictures of daily life in the community. Excerpts of a resident pool party show the potential for fun and new friends. Residents enjoying sunset on the rooftop deck show to opportunities to relax amidst a hectic class schedule. Take residents behind the scenes of your community through Snaps. Such snaps can be an interesting way to showcase updates at the community that benefit residents. Think of big ticket items like pool deck upgrades as well as small things like seasonal flower installations. Spice it up with a quick Q&A with the crew. Residents may like getting to know people they may see in their community. Community events are perfect Snapchat fodder, especially when you have high attendance. Take advantage of the “crowd surf” feature, which stitches together multiple snaps recorded by users to create one continuous video at events. Let Users Find You Unlike a Facebook business page, your Snapchat profile provides minimal information about your student housing community. In order for prospects to find you, be sure to use geofilters on some of your posts. This creates a way for viewers to identify your location. When residents see your geofilter, they may be encouraged to use it as well. Geotags quickly and easily broaden your marketing reach. Learn more about smart managing and marketing of your community with the Yardi Student Housing...

Increasing Conversions Dec11

Increasing Conversions...

In last week’s post, we answered your basic questions about landing pages: What is a landing page? Why is it powerful? What should it include? But landing pages are tricky tools. What they should exclude is just as important as what they should include. When landing pages include undesirable features, your conversion rate suffers. That means that you sabotage your return on investment, paying more for less. The pointers below will help you craft a landing page that fulfills its potential. What should my landing page exclude? Landing pages aren’t like other pages on your website. More information and options is not better! The features below decrease the likelihood of conversion. Exclude them from your landing pages. Navigation links The menu on your website or any other navigation links should be hidden from view. Remember, prospects reach your landing page through an ad with a specific purpose. Presenting other options will be confusing at best. At worst, the links will navigate them away from your offer. Multiple calls-to-action (CTA) If a prospect clicked your ad for a studio apartment deal, there should be a single CTA for studio apartments. Other CTAs or even social media links are a distraction, resulting in a lower conversion rate. Presenting multiple CTAs on a landing page activates Hick’s law.  Increasing the number of options increases the time needed to make a decision. That extra effort and time decreases the likelihood of a successful conversion. If you’d like to offer multiple deals, create multiple landing pages for each one. There is no such thing as too many landing pages! Each page offers a tailored user experience. Long-winded copy When it comes to copy, or text, stick to details about the benefits of your offer. Prospects have short attention spans....

Charged Up Dec10

Charged Up

ENERGY STAR® certifications have gone mobile. Originally geared toward properties and consumer products, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) efficiency program now includes a scoring system for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. In December 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its inaugural ENERGY STAR specification for electric vehicle chargers. An ENERGY STAR-certified charging station is defined as using 40% less energy than an uncertified one. As EV technology increases its foothold in the marketplace, its capabilities and ENERGY STAR endorsement offer substantial cost, convenience and sustainability benefits. Moving toward EV-compatibility EV sales are expected to top 1 million by 2020, up from about 200,000 in 2017. Some observers predict EVs will be the dominant mode of propulsion for cars by 2030, making charging an increasingly significant value consideration for multifamily and commercial property owners. Driving EVs and using ENERGY STAR-certified chargers can produce: Savings—EVs cost about half as much to drive per mile than standard gasoline-powered vehicles, according to this calculator. Property owners hosting charging stations for tenants and customers can control costs by anticipating the need for new EV equipment, upgrading electrical service to accommodate it, taking operations and maintenance costs into account, and researching incentives that make installations easier and less expensive Efficiency—EVs convert about 59–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels, whereas conventional gasoline vehicles convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels Convenience—Most EV charging happens at home or work, giving property managers who offer this capability a competitive advantage. But what if those places aren’t available? Locate the nearest public charger location in the U.S. here Smart technology—Some ENERGY STAR-certified EV charger models use Wi-Fi technology for remote power monitoring and control of the charging state...

Storage Switch Up Dec09

Storage Switch Up

Second Closet, a start-up based in Toronto, is revolutionizing the storage industry. The company was created on an operating model where users only pay for what they store, not a fixed storage locker price. With prices starting as low as $3/month, customers can have a virtual second closet to store seasonal, personal and unused items. The company picks up items for storage and delivers them back when clients need them again. With the rising population and demand for space in Toronto, people are struggling to find extra storage. These services are transforming the storage industry and addressing prominent issues of the moving pains associated with city living. This year, Second Closet raised $2 million from investment company MIG Group, helping to fully launch the business and make the entire storage process convenient and efficient.We spoke to founder and CEO, Mark Ang for more details. He cofounded the company with his brother, David. Why is now the time for your company to exist? Ang: There’s going to be 10B people in the world by 2050. They aren’t going to be flooding the suburbs, they’ll gravitate to urban areas provided there’s housing available. At the same time, we’re not seeing condominium developments slow down. For cities like Toronto, it’s easy to look at a city like New York to get a glimpse of what life could and likely will be like when things get more densely populated. Since housing prices outpace personal income, condo developers are simply building smaller units so that they still achieve the optimal price per square foot but the nominal price of the unit as a whole is within financial reach. That basically creates a whole lot of shoe boxes in big urban cities. I think we’re position well to help people...

CA Benchmarking Dec08

CA Benchmarking

A California energy benchmarking law going into effect next June requires multifamily property owners to complete a potentially daunting array of information gathering and reporting requirements. Yardi’s energy management software and experts stand ready to make the process easy and painless. Under the mandate, known as AB 802, owners of multifamily buildings with more than 17 units, or gross floor area of 50,000 square feet, must report information on energy use from all energy meters using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. Reports to the California Energy Commission for 2018 are due to the California Energy Commission on June 1, 2019, and annually thereafter. Similar requirements for commercial buildings went to effect in June 2018.  Actions the commission recommends to meet the June 1 deadline begin by Feb. 1, 2019. Each building’s energy efficiency will be disclosed on a yet-to-be-established state website. “Publicly disclosing the performance of buildings will allow building owners and tenants to make better informed purchasing and leasing decisions, and the general public to better understand the buildings in which they live and work,” according to the California Energy Commission. Yardi is an ENERGY STAR Partner and is helping California users of the Yardi Smart Energy Suite get ready for AB 802. All owners of more than 330 California properties that rely on Yardi for ENERGY STAR benchmarking have retained the company in preparing for AB 802. Yardi Utility Expense Management, an element of the Yardi Pulse Suite, centralizes utility cost and consumption data and sends it directly into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Portfolio Manager is an online tool for tracking energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It also allows comparisons of a building’s energy performance against similar-type buildings. Elements of AB 802 compliance include setting up multiple measurement criteria for...

On the Go Giving Dec08

On the Go Giving

Looking for a way to get more involved with the local community? Move for Hunger is a nonprofit that connects you, your residents, and your local food bank. Move for Hunger partners with the American Moving and Storage Association to get nonperishable food into the hands of those in need. Before relocating, residents coordinate with their moving company to deliver unwanted goods to local food banks. To date, the organization has transported more than 11,479, 245 pounds of food to food banks. The donations created 9,566,038 meals for people facing food insecurity. You and your residents can get in on the giving! Arranging a Move for Hunger Donation Setting up a Move for Hunger donation is incredibly simple. First, residents must find a participating professional mover. There are more than 1,000 to choose from across the United States. (And since residents are relocating, anyway, this step is super practical.) The residents and the mover will set up their moving date. While the residents are packing their belongings, they set aside the nonperishable items that they’d like to donate. On the day of the move, the mover will transport the nonperishable food to the nearest local food bank. Benefits for Residents Residents are looking for a way to quickly and easily clean out their unit. Move for Hunger helps them do just that. • All the food that they can’t eat before the move is relocated, rather than tossed in the trash. Donating the unwanted food requires no additional legwork for residents. • The food pick-up may potentially minimize the cost of the move! By donating items in the fridge, pantry, and cabinets there will be fewer boxes to move while residents are being charged. Benefits for You! By promoting Move for Hunger, you’re doing...

Building AI Dec07

Building AI

How can artificial intelligence (AI) benefit building operators? Matt Eggers, a Yardi consultant (and former vice president of Yardi Energy) and Yardi vice president Akshai Rao offered insights during a recent webinar hosted by Paul Rosta, executive editor of Commercial Property Executive. “Software is eating the world” and reshaping how people work and live; the various aspects of operating a building are no exception, Eggers noted. Many webinar participants and CPE readers say they plan to increase technology expenditures next year, but by 25% or less, which means building owners have to be smart about their investments. That’s where AI—the ability of machines and computers to perform cognitive functions normally associated with humans—comes in. Eggers Rao Rosta Optimizing building performance AI “learns as it goes,” detecting patterns in conditions affecting energy consumption without being requested, then prescribing recommendations. Outside of buildings, AI’s well-documented feats include beating chess grandmasters, winning at “Jeopardy!” and creating an image of a human face from scratch by learning from thousands of other photos. The expansion of digital data availability (“AI’s food and oxygen,” as Eggers described it), computing power and software enhancements, and cheap storage have made AI viable for the corporate world. And businesses have reacted in force: About 80% of webinar participants said they’re using AI or plan to within three years. Examples of how AI systems make a building more efficient include optimizing the setpoint (the target temperature) every 30 seconds to ensure comfort without using more energy than necessary; and learning from their past performance to react to changes in occupancy, weather and other factors. AI systems’ ability to perform continuous and small adjustments into HVAC settings translates into better performance through lower utility and equipment maintenance costs; increased tenant comfort that reduces service calls...

Accounting Simplified...

Yardi Voyager Residential consolidates property management and financial accounting into a single platform. The fully-integrated suite of multifamily and marketing products makes it easier to manage the entire real estate cycle. Is Voyager Residential Right for My Organization? That depends on several factors. Are you a large organization looking for scalable solutions? Voyager grows and diversifies with you. Users gain access to real-time performance analytics across their entire portfolio, regardless of size. Organizations with smaller portfolios, such as family holdings, may benefit from Yardi Breeze. Do you seek a compliant, accurate and efficient way to manage your portfolio? Voyager financial management features meet all applicable accounting standards and regulatory requirements. Property management features streamline workflows for leasing, move-ins, move-outs, work orders, purchase orders, and everything in between. Would you prefer to leave software management to the tech pros while you run your business? Yardi’s award-winning cloud services manage data storage and updates on your behalf. You can focus on growing your business while Yardi handles the minutia of the software. Does a comprehensive suite of software seem more appealing than a piecemeal combination of products? Yardi Voyager Residential integrates with the Yardi Multifamily and Marketing Suites as well as Yardi Elevate. You benefit from a unified entity for marketing, customer relationship management,   procurement, facilities management, energy management, and business intelligence. Do you value flexibility? With Voyager, you aren’t stuck to your desk. Voyager comes mobile-ready and browser agnostic, keeping your team members connected whether they are in the office or in the field. Raising the Bar Yardi is an established company with a proven track record. For more than 30 years, Yardi has supported client success with quality real estate management solutions. Though established, Yardi continues to evolve. Ongoing improvements ensure that client feedback...

Food Bank CENC Dec06

Food Bank CENC

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence left disaster in its wake. Low-lying towns along the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts received the worst of the damages. In the months to come, the storm would unite the region in one of its darkest hours. Hurricane Florence dumped 30-36 inches of rain on the region in two days. The rainfall caused catastrophic flooding. Cape Fear River, which runs nearly 200 miles from the Atlantic to Wilsonville, crested 62 feet. Nearby rivers and creeks also flooded, submerging homes, destroying businesses and washing out two interstates. About 350, 000 people were without power in North Carolina. At least 43 people lost their lives in storm-related events. Following the bleak aftermath came a surge of hope. Assistance poured in from throughout the nation, with the strongest concentration of aid coming from neighboring states. Food, clothing, and supplies began to make their way to those in need. On the ground, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (FBCENC) and its 100 partner agencies were among the first to channel the aid and help communities recover. Volunteer Services Coordinator Michael McKay said, “You see an outpouring of love at this time, during a disaster. It’s amazing that we see so many people here to help out.” FBCENC set up more than 85 contact points in the hardest hit areas. “We’re going to be here for you,” said Michael Cotten, Branch Director at FBCENC. “The Food Bank is a first responder and we’re going to be here in the long term.” Yardi corporate contributed funds to FBCENC to support relief programs. “While the efforts are far from over, we have been able to provide more than 5.5 million pounds of food and supplies to our neighbors over the past two months...

Increase Conversions Dec05

Increase Conversions

If your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign leads prospects to your home page, you’re missing out on conversions. Creating a landing page for your paid ads is a proven way to increase your conversion rate. What is a landing page? A landing page is not built into your website through the navigation menu. It is a stand-alone page that prospects land on after clicking your paid ad. The sole purpose of a landing page is to get your prospects to take action. The landing page should provide a quick summary of what you have to offer. It should then direct the prospect on how to take advantage of the offer (the conversion). That’s it. Why are landing pages so powerful? Organizations that use landing pages experience more conversions. Research reveals that more landing pages lead to more conversions. Paid ads placed in internet searches, emails, or social media campaigns should guide prospects to a landing page. In fact, landing pages help ads achieve a greater return on investment. They also improve your site’s quality score. Without a landing page, your cost per lead rises and your conversion rate lowers. You’ll pay more for less business! What should my landing page include? Keep your landing page informative yet simple. Landing page essentials include: Your logo Quickly reestablish your brand with by placing your logo near the top of the landing page. A captivating headline A solid headline does two things. First, it confirms that prospects have arrived to the correct page after clicking your ad. You can achieve this by using the same language in the headline as you did in the ad. Secondly, the headline entices the prospects to read more and take action. Copy and media that mimics the language of the ad Your copy...

Market Sharing Dec04

Market Sharing

They say that sharing is caring. Turns out, sharing is also a great selling point for your student housing community. By integrating the share culture into your student property, you can reap the benefits of this growing economic sector. The sharing economy flourishes worldwide. Its convenience and innovation has won over millions of users. According to PWC research,  83 percent of respondents say the sharing economy is more convenient and efficient than conventional methods of shopping, transportation, and completing tasks. Share practices are already active in your student housing community. Why not capitalize on their success? No- and Low-Cost Solutions You don’t have to spend a lot of money to bring collaborative consumption to your student property. These low-cost solutions are a great place to start: By 2025, the rideshare economy will have an estimated cumulative worth of over $335 billion. Show that you are adapting to the times. Designate an area in your community for rideshare pick-up and drop-off. Mark this area with signage using the rideshare service provider logos, such as Lyft and Uber. If your property has a security gate, place the designated area outside of the gate. This results in fewer guests with gate access codes and shorter lines at the callbox. Make rideshare services easy to access from your property website. True, most users will hail a ride using their smartphone app. The link on your property site, however, shows prospects and residents that you are responsive to their needs and interests. Market the desirability of your location by highlighting food delivery services available in your community. Doordash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub delivery services are popular with young adults. A community share forum creates a sense of cohesion and support within your student housing property. The forum can serve as...

Originations Wane Dec03

Originations Wane

Editor’s note: Paul Fiorilla is director of research for Yardi Matrix. His analysis of waning loan originations, despite high demand for apartments and industrial real estate, was recently published by Globe Street. You can find the full report summary available for download here. (Select the national category.) Concerns about rising interest rates and weakening economic growth have led to a slowdown in commercial mortgage originations, particularly in out-of-favor asset types, despite the wide availability of debt capital. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that commercial mortgage originations in 3Q18 fell 7 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The biggest drop came from CMBS, which fell 53 percent year-over-year, and commercial banks, which originated 22 percent less than a year ago, according to the MBA’s survey. Life companies and the GSE multifamily lenders posted slight increases in lending. The decline in lending is more a reflection of demand than supply. No major source of debt capital is pulling back, and the number of debt opportunity funds is on the rise. However, property sales have dipped about 10 percent nationally, while rising interest rates are discouraging some borrowers from refinancing. Since bottoming at just over 2.0 percent in September 2017, the 10-year Treasury has increased steadily and has been over 3.0 percent since mid-September. That has increased loan coupons, although loan spreads have generally come down 40 to 50 basis points over the past year, so the cost of borrowing has not risen as much as interest rates. Tightening loan spreads reflect the healthy appetite among lenders to book loans. Another headwind to originations is the decline in property sales as buyers start to pull back. Sellers are getting fewer bids and – while acquisition yields aren’t yet climbing appreciably – buyers are seeking to...

Empowering Learners

The second annual Santa Barbara Gives! (SB Gives!) is now underway. This holiday fundraiser and competition is a fun way to unite local donors and nonprofits. When their efforts are combined, Santa Barbara thrives. So, What’s This All About? SB Gives! aims to motivate philanthropy by highlighting innovative nonprofits. Readers can explore the nonprofits’ missions on the SB Gives! website. Once inspired, readers are encouraged to donate to their nonprofit(s) of choice. Of course, a little friendly competition keeps things interesting. SB Gives! features a leaderboard to show which nonprofit has raised the most funds to date. Donations are tracked in real time! What’s the Skinny on EqualiTech? Among the noteworthy nonprofits stands EqualiTech, the brain child of math teacher Danny Fitzgibbons. Through his studies and career, he learned of the disparity that occurs between children with early access to technology and those without. Learning gaps are evident as early as kindergarten. Fitzgibbons wanted to create a program that provided access to critical technologies regardless of socioeconomic status. Today, EqualiTech makes technology accessible to residents of Goleta and nearby neighborhoods. The organization aims to improve computer literacy by providing public computer access at Goleta Valley Tech Center. The site is staffed by a bilingual manager and instructor who is available to answer questions and work one on one with patrons who need help. At the center, students learn basic computer skills such as typing, navigating a computer, and creating and managing an email account. Students can also receive help with special projects like website design and resolving hardware issues. Students’ time at EqualiTech is meant to be fun and practical. Naturally, students learn how to keep in touch with loved ones via social media. Of equal importance, they learn tips and tricks on how to...

Coworking Revolution

Increasingly, companies don’t have a five-or 10-year vision based around a particular space with a particular staff mix. They want short-term arrangements where they can flex their head count and floorspace up or down depending on need. This applies to businesses both large and small. While coworking once meant an office for four to six people, today deals are being signed for spaces that will accommodate 25, 50 or even 100 staff. Coworking also helps firms to retain the best employees by providing them with a stimulating and collaborative working environment. Sitting behind all of this is new technology which means that operating or using a coworking space is more streamlined than ever before. But with so many coworking spaces springing up, competition is getting ever more intense. So what can operators do to make their schemes are a success? Businesses today are looking for more than just a desk, a telephone and an internet connection – they want a level of service on a par with what you would expect in a high-end hotel. Years ago, we used to call the people sitting in the entrance ‘receptionists’, but today we refer to them as ‘front-of-house.’ In a successful coworking space they should engage with members, know them by name and be on hand to manage all aspects of the customer experience. Technology is a big part of this. A fast, reliable internet connection is crucial to most businesses and Yardi’s software means access to spaces is seamless, so when a member enters a coworking space they are instantly recognised and connected to the wifi. This can even work across multiple coworking locations. Unlike more traditional companies where most staff leave the building between 5pm and 6pm, some companies operating out of coworking spaces...

Industrial Strength Dec01

Industrial Strength

Yardi Matrix took a close look at the U.S. industrial real estate market’s performance in the first half of 2018 and found plenty of positive signs. Indications of the sector’s strength include: Strong demand for space driven by year-over-year e-commerce sales growth of 15.4% Nearly 125 million square feet of industrial space coming online 7% year-over-year rent growth A national vacancy rate below 5% in the first quarter, the lowest since 2010 Commercial real estate-leading investment volume “Demand is stronger than ever” in every industrial subsector, the report says, with warehousing, manufacturing and flex space accounting for most of the occupancy gains. Demand was strongest in California’s Inland Empire, followed by Chicago and New Jersey. The industrial sector continued to benefit from rising e-commerce sales, which totaled $120.4 billion in the second quarter alone and drove the need for distribution centers near dense population areas. Over 90% of the first half’s new supply was warehouse and distribution space, with more than 238 million square feet of additional space under construction at mid-year. In markets where available land for development is scarce, developers focused on renovation and site remediation projects, expecting to recover costs with higher rents. Industrial rents continued to increase in most markets, spurred by the exceptional demand and lack of excess space in the top logistics markets. Rents averaged $6.29 per square foot at mid-year, up 7% year-over-year. “Expect rents to further increase through 2018 as the quality of available inventory improves due to upgrades and addition of new space,” the report says, noting that a slight deceleration might follow in 2019 as projects now under construction add to available inventory. The national industrial vacancy rate, 4.9% in the first quarter, was largely due to companies snapping up space before it was...