A Match Made in Heaven Dec12

A Match Made in Heaven

The 2020 NMHC & Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Survey reports that 71 percent of rural renters and 70 percent of suburban renters ranked “additional storage outside apartment” as a top interest. Many multifamily properties, however, are not equipped with storage units for renters. Self-storage facility managers can fill the gap and benefit from a steady stream of clientele—if you make the right connections. Make an offer they can’t refuse Before the turn of the millennium, additional storage wasn’t as in-demand then as it is now. As a result, many older properties weren’t constructed with storage units for renters. Even some newer properties with storage options don’t have enough to meet demand. Such properties may prove to be your valuable partners.  Renters who need storage may find the additional space they need at self storage facilities in the neighborhood. The challenge is to make sure that your storage facility tops their list. You could amplify your online marketing strategy, but that could be costly and time consuming. A captive audience, through a partnership with local apartment communities, could be a much surer path to success. Think about negotiating an incentive or deal for residents in nearby apartment communities. You’re interested in predictable, long-term clients. Multifamily agents want to meet prospects’ and renters’ demands for storage space outside of the unit. There is room for both parties to benefit. “Consider approaching the apartment community with a win-win proposal without a formal monetary reward if there is not another competing storage property within proximity. Pitch your storage property as a neighborhood amenity that the community manager can promote.  Only offer a referral bonus if competition forces you to do so,” advises Mark Smith, Director of Marketing with Yardi. He continues, “Storage operators should consider (and continually re-evaluate) their new customer acquisition costs. Make sure that your referral bonus agreement with an apartment community is in line with your normal acquisition costs.” Benefit from verified clients Most multifamily properties vet their residents before allowing them to sign a lease. A verification of employment history, good credit standing, and background checks are quite common. In contrast, very few self-storage facilities require an in-depth approval process. When you create a relationship with an apartment community, you can benefit from their verification process. Multifamily renters go through additional steps that could in turn reduce your exposure to missed payments and other risks. You will still benefit, though, from your own due diligence. “Track all tenants that rented via referral programs and evaluate for ROI,” says Smith. “Are they tenants that have paid their bills and stayed long enough to provide a positive revenue stream, or are you better off terminating the agreement with the apartment community?” Put your best foot forward To secure your position as their preferred vendor, clearly detail what differentiates you from the competition. You then have a platform to confidently state your price because you have demonstrated the value that you can offer to their renters. There are a few key features that renters want in off-site storage. If you offer such features, be sure to highlight them in your proposal: Security In an ideal world, renters would safely store their belongings in their apartment. But with limited space, that isn’t an option. They rely on you to provide additional space that is also secure. Keyless access via a smartphone app or personalized keycodes are popular with renters. (Some use similar technology to access their apartments.) By implementing such tech, you can offer a secure way to access units without the burdens and risks of physical keys. Most renters expect security cameras and gated entry. Offering 24/7 staff availability (or at least extended office hours) adds an appealing layer of security and reassurance during emergencies or other issues. Ease of Use While renters want secure self-storage, they want to access it on demand. This is another place where keyless entry places you...

Yardi Named a Best Place to Work Dec11

Yardi Named a Best Place to Work

Yardi has again been honored with a major award from Glassdoor as one of the top places to work in the U.S. The 2020 Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award relies solely on employee feedback from Glassdoor, a popular job rating and review site. The site enables employees to voluntarily and anonymously share information about their jobs, work environments and companies. Yardi ranks No. 53 on the list of Top 100 U.S. Large Companies list. Below are just a few words employees shared on Glassdoor that contributed toward the award and make us feel incredibly honored: “Yardi is a great company to work for, the company culture is really great and a big factor in my 5-star rating. Yardi genuinely cares about their employees, and employee growth and retention. Though the company is established and stable, the company is still very innovative and is looking at the big, long-term picture.” – Client Services Department employee review. “The management is responsive to employees’ needs professionally and personally. I have been given opportunity to grow in my role and can talk to my boss candidly. My path for growth has been outlined and my manager helps me achieve my goals.” – Accounting Department employee review. “Great place to work. I get to meet new people every day. I love working with clients to see what Yardi software products can make their life better. I look forward to many years at Yardi Systems.” – Sales Team employee review. Glassdoor’s 2020 Best Places to Work list was determined using company reviews shared by U.S.-based employees between October 23, 2018, and October 21, 2019. To be considered for the U.S. large company category, a company must have had at least 1,000 or more employees and have received at least 75 ratings across each of the eight workplace attributes from U.S.-based employees during the period of eligibility. The final list is compiled using Glassdoor’s proprietary algorithm and takes into account quantity, quality and consistency of reviews. “Taking care of team members and offering opportunities to contribute to our clients’ success are guiding principles,” said Anant Yardi, the company’s president and founder. “We are honored to receive this prestigious award from Glassdoor, and we are grateful for the supportive culture that has been fostered at all levels within our organization.” On Glassdoor, current and former employees of companies worldwide can share insights and opinions about their work environments by sharing a company review, designed to capture an authentic inside look at what it’s like to work at particular jobs and companies. “This year marks the shift to a culture-first decade in the workplace, and Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards winners are employers that are prioritizing culture, mission and employees at the heart of everything they do. By doing so, their employees have spoken and are recognizing them truly as the Best Places to Work in 2020,” said Christian Sutherland-Wong, Glassdoor president, chief operating officer and incoming chief executive officer. “In addition to putting culture and mission at the core of how they operate, this year’s winners stand out for promoting transparency with employees, offering career growth opportunities and providing work driven by impact and purpose.” This year isn’t the first time Yardi has been recognized among the top U.S. companies by Glassdoor. In June 2019, President and Founder Anant Yardi was named for the third time to Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEO list. That honor was also based on feedback submitted by current and former employees. Of 100 CEOs recognized nationally, Anant Yardi ranked No. 33. Interested in joining our winning team? We are hiring! Find out about current employment opportunities worldwide on the Yardi careers...

Beat the Cold Dec11

Beat the Cold

Those summer tees and shorts are but a memory. With fall here and winter on deck, how do you stay comfortable at home without spiking your utility bills? Here’s a compilation of tips from the U.S. Department of Energy and other sources. Study up. Conduct an energy audit to find out where you can save and invest for long-term energy savings. Don’t miss sunshine. Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close them at night. End the draft. According to energy services marketplace Choose Energy, up to 30% of a home’s heat can escape through low-efficiency windows. Cold air can lead into a home through cracks and gaps in windows and doorways. Covering windows and sliding doors with clear plastic film can cut about 14% from your heating bill. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that still feel drafty. Seal any gaps with caulk or weather-stripping. Check the equipment. Have your heating system serviced. Replace furnace and heater filters as needed. Air filters should be replaced monthly. Clean the flue vents on wood- and pellet-burning heaters. Reset the temp. When you’re home and awake, set your thermostat as low as possible to remain comfortable. Turn it back 10° to 15° at nighttime and when you’re gone. A smart or programmable thermostat makes this easy. Get a smart ’stat. Almost half of monthly energy costs are controlled by your thermostat, according to Efficiency Vermont, and Choose Energy says a programmable thermostat can cut heating costs by up to 12%. Cut your losses. Close your fireplace damper when not in use to keep warm air from escaping up the chimney. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system for the fireplace. Add caulking around the fireplace...

Must-Have Tech Dec09

Must-Have Tech

Toronto recently hosted its very first Yardi Executive Briefing exclusively for multifamily clients. Participants explored the latest innovations in RENTCafé and smart home technology. Below, we’ve highlighted the latest and greatest multifamily technology that you’ve got to have. Re-imaging Real Estate through Innovation Seven technologies are changing the future of multifamily housing: Untethered Connectivity: Voice-activated digital assistants handle everything from rent payments, maintenance requests, and adjusting the thermostat in a unit. Renters love the convenience, which adds to a unit’s perceived value. Smart Home Accessibility: Artificial intelligence and wireless connection unite to make smart home technology accessible to renters on the go. Via machine learning, apps within a smart car can determine when users are heading home. They can adjust the thermostat and fulfill other user preferences. Broadband Rules: Broadband connectivity is replacing cable as users complain of high cable prices and obnoxious bundled services. Begin negotiation with local broadband providers to offer services to your renters. Virtual Fitness: Don’t scrap your rarely used fitness center. Instead, give it a makeover by adding virtual fitness services. Renters value the option to have a virtual coach help them through workouts. Sleek + Chic: Renters appreciate smart home technology but don’t want bulky hardware interrupting their interior design. Technology needs to work on demand while blending functionality with interior design. Welcome the Robots: Drones for package delivery are a hot trend in metropolitan areas. If you haven’t already, plan and implement a concierge service to handle package deliveries. While you’re at it, designated parking spots and charging stations for autonomous vehicles may soon be a necessity. Modular Building is Cool Again: Unlike the first wave of prefab buildings in the 1930s, today’s modular homes are durable and highly customizable. Units can easily convert based on current...

Amsterdam Think Tank Dec06

Amsterdam Think Tank

AMSTERDAM – Terrence Wong (Yardi), Remco van de Wetering (Newomij), Hans Touw (Redevco), Robert-Jan Reeuwijk (CBRE) and Jaap van der Bijl (Altera) were recently invited to discuss the impact that social issues such as sustainability and affordability have on the value of residential property. According to Reeuwijk, the current housing market places even greater emphasis on the importance of an objective valuation of (properties) in a residential property portfolio. “When determining value, you use multiple sources so that you can look at standard parameters such as vacancy values or rental values. Then, using databases you can add new quality-defining elements such as the year of construction, the energy label and the location of the complex in question.” Transactions Van de Wetering states that the assessment of quality – and thus of value – has always been an issue in transactions, but he places even more emphasis on this fact for acquisitions. “More and more restrictions are being introduced at a local level for the mid-rental market segment and even then we don’t exactly know where the government wants to go in terms of regulation. But in determining the value of a portfolio, it is important to be aware of this both for the investors and the end users.” End user According to Touw, this depends on which definition you attribute to the term “end user.” “In my experience you are talking about the tenant. When determining quality, you start with the question of what the tenant’s experience is of this property, rather than just determining how good you think the product is for the tenant through the lens of the provider.” Measurable “What represents quality for one investor, does not for another,” asserts Van der Bijl. “As property investors, we want to measure, manage...

Reporting Reprieve Dec04

Reporting Reprieve

Private and nonprofit organizations faced a tall order in February 2016. That’s when the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued new accounting standards requiring lessees to report real estate liabilities on their balance sheets. The standard was set to take effect by mid-December 2019, but FASB issued a one-year extension in October that gives such companies more time to compile, understand and calculate leasing data. The original deadline will remain unchanged for large public banks. As an article published by BOMA International explains, over 85% of lease commitments aren’t listed on corporate balance sheets. Once the new standard kicks in, any equipment or real estate lease with a term longer than 12 months must be recorded on the balance sheet as a “right-of-use” (ROU) asset with a corresponding lease liability. The standards won’t change landlords’ operations much, but tenants will demand improved transparency in their lease agreements. The impact will be especially dramatic for retailers, chain restaurants and other sectors that rely heavily on leasing for their operations. The new reporting requirements will force companies to be more rigorous in recording leasing data and the types of information that must be tracked. “Transparency around contract details will be critical,” according to Stephen Miller, global lease accounting lead for JLL and author of the BOMA article. One key change requires renewal options to become part of lessees’ reported liability if a company is reasonably certain it will exercise its option to renew. Shorter leasing terms will reduce reported liabilities, and operating and service contracts will be excluded from balance sheet calculations. Some experts calculate that corporate debt loads will increase by an average of 58% under the new rules. Rising debt loads elevate a company’s overall financial risk and can set off alarms with investors and...

Yardi Think Tank Dec03

Yardi Think Tank

Earlier this year, Investec published research showing that 91% of investors think ‘blended living’ schemes that incorporate a combination of build-to-rent (BTR), student accommodation, co-living, retirement living and/or serviced apartments will be commonplace in the UK within the next five years. Last month, Yardi and Property Week brought together a panel of residential experts to explore what makes a successful blended living scheme, the importance of good design and how tech can improve customer experience. Panel of experts Christian Armstrong, director of brand, product and technology, Get Living Mark Bladon, director, Investec Georgie Drewery, account executive, Yardi Systems Félicie Krikler, architect and director, Assael Architecture Beth West, head of development management, Landsec Simon Creasey (chair), consulting editor/features, Property Week Blended living schemes are already commonplace in the US – why do you think they haven’t yet really gained traction in the UK? Bladon: For a number of reasons. If you look at the most developed of those sectors in the UK, it would probably be purpose-built student accommodation and that’s only been going in one form or another in a meaningful way for about 10 years. In the US, the investor market for this type of product is much more mature. Also, the BTR market in the UK had a lot of false starts between 2000 and, say, 2010 where people were just not able to get developments off the ground, but that’s all changed now. People have taken a bit of a leap of faith and there is now trading product, so you can benchmark yields and you can look at it on a cashflow basis. So what we’ve seen is people that have been in a very specific ‘beds for rent’ sector have realised that they can leverage off their existing operational platform, off their infrastructure, off the location – there’s so many things they can now do to broaden their horizon. What are the key ingredients that you need to make a blended living scheme work for all residents, particularly in terms of things like amenities provision? Armstrong: Amenities are really important but you have to think ahead, do some research and speak to your existing residents and prospective residents about what amenities they would actually use. I’ve seen some stunning stuff on schemes like barbecue terraces and outdoor terraces and then it hits me that we live in the UK – this is not the US. So I’m going to be sitting there with my cappuccino on the outdoor terrace with the froth blowing off! Bladon: That’s where the skill comes in. These schemes still have to make a profit, so you can’t just keep pouring money in. Somebody described it as an ‘amenities arms race’. They’re almost turning student accommodation into hotels and then they’re charging students £350 a week. As a result, you might end up with a half-empty property. The most successful operators are going to be the ones that can find the right balance. West: That’s why I think we haven’t reached that maturity point yet – this amenities arms race is a very immature reaction to what people think is a single market and a single customer for this product, but there are loads of people who want this product. If we’re going to build housing that attracts a broad range of different people staying for a long time then we have to think about offering a variety of different affordability points. Bladon: I think there’s another issue that lends itself to a blended portfolio and that’s the power of building a brand that can be used across the whole lifecycle of your tenant. So you start with your student, then co-living, then they get into their mid-20s and they want to move into BTR. That [BTR] can take them from being single, to married with children and living in a three-bed, all the way up to potentially the age of 60, when they might move into...

A Sense of Community Nov29

A Sense of Community

Savvy property managers understand that a feeling of belonging created in a community of neighbors is priceless—especially for long-time renters—and can generate numerous benefits for residents and the property alike.  From creating an inclusive living environment for everyone to improving retention, there are many positive aspects to be gained from one simple concept: a sense of community. But, how can you build a community from scratch, and incorporate new residents along the way? Observe the little things A strong community is easy to spot. People smile more, neighbors greet each other and are more open. This often reflects the way the premises are kept: the shared space is clean, and residents are more inclined to clean up after themselves or pick up litter to keep things orderly. Conversely, if people don’t seem to spend time in common areas, and there is visible trash or property damage, it could be a sign that the community needs some TLC. Get a different (social) perspective The secret to a low renter turnover has an emotional dimension. Creating bonds and fostering a sense of camaraderie between renters and property management—as well as among renters themselves—is often overlooked. It all boils down to promoting the social side of the apartment community instead of seeing just the business side. Seeing your property as more than just a physical space is a good start to put yourself in the renter’s shoes and understand why a sense of belonging weighs so heavily for many people. Always remember to ask for feedback and act on it accordingly. Keep in touch digitally Bulletin boards and community fliers are fine, but today’s renters need more than that to feel welcomed and wanted in a community. The answer to creating easy community engagement is simple: go...

Healthcare Providers Nov29

Healthcare Providers

A unique partnership may serve as a model to future affordable housing developments. Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente announced its partnership with Community Solutions of New York to end homelessness in 15 communities. The partnership’s unique approach offers sustainable solutions for chronic homelessness and lower costs for healthcare. The Recent Collaboration The Community Solutions program Built for Zero uses live data to identify the root factors of homelessness in individual communities. The organization uses that data to address the conditions that create homelessness–and stop housing insecurity before its onset. To fund the program, Kaiser Permanente will contribute $3 million over the course of three years. The funding empowers Community Solutions to extend its services to more than 70 communities throughout the United States. The organization’s current programs set benchmarks for success: nine communities have ended the cycle of homelessness for participating veterans and three have ended chronic homelessness for participants. In total, 103, 500 chronically homeless persons have received the resources and skills needed to end their plight. Beyond Treating Symptoms Safe, dependable shelter is essential for maintaining health. “Kaiser Permanente is investing in efforts to reduce homelessness and housing insecurity because there is a proven link between housing and health,” Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente said in an interview with Housing Finance. “Addressing affordable housing and homelessness is crucial to Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve and to advance the economic, social, and environmental conditions for health.” Ending homelessness comes with benefits for the healthcare system. Once admitted to hospitals, homeless patients stay longer and are more likely to be readmitted. A Boston study revealed that homeless patients are four times more likely to visit the ER than patients with stable...

YASC Europe 2019 Nov27

YASC Europe 2019

The largest Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) to date for Yardi’s European clients, with more than 490 guests in attendance, featured learning, networking and fun in London on November 20 and 21. YASC is a global Yardi event where clients can expand their knowledge of Yardi’s solutions. Clients gain detailed insight into the Yardi product solutions they use, the Yardi development roadmap and newly launched solutions. They also have the chance to speak with other Yardi users and obtain one-on-one advice from Yardi product specialists at Knowledge Central. With more than 100 classes to choose from, in nine role-based tracks, clients can dive deep into technology that supports the needs of a variety of real estate asset types. New to YASC Europe this year, attendees enjoyed a mainstage panel session which featured coworking entrepreneurs Charlie Green of The Office Group; Giles Fuchs of Office Space in Town; and Chris Armstrong of mixed-use operator Get Living. The panel discussed alternatives to traditional commercial real estate. Chaired by Justin Harley, director of coworking and residential at Yardi, the panel dissected two components for running flexible workspaces: putting the member first and integrating a solid technology management platform.     Vox Pop! Several clients took part in our Vox Pop station to share what they were loving most about YASC. Here’s what some of them had to say: “I absolutely love this conference – we send people every year. You can learn about how to automate operations and how to expand your services.” -Adam McGrath, Northern Trust “It’s great to meet lots of different people from Europe who use Yardi and it’s great to be here learning from all the technical experts.” -Georgia-Rose Rochester, Grosvenor Estate Management Limited “I’m particularly interested in learning about Yardi Elevate and...

5 Tech Takeaways Nov25

5 Tech Takeaways

NMHC OPTECH 2019 in Dallas was the place to be for multifamily real estate execs seeking strategies to raise their game using technology — especially looking ahead to a likely downturn. In lively peer roundtable discussions and dynamic property and revenue management workshops and sessions, industry insiders dove into the big issues facing multifamily businesses. Compelling strategies emerged for growing revenue, managing all lease types and improving the customer experience using new technology. Read on for our top five takeaways from this year’s event.   Unleash data Gone are the days of making business decisions based on guesswork and backward-looking data aggregated into spreadsheets. Today, new technology automates data collection with advanced analytics to provide a complete picture of a portfolio’s opportunities and future risks. That’s big data, and it’s a big deal. At OPTECH, experts talked about the valuable business intelligence hiding in your company’s data, and how to capture it to improve all operational systems and processes from front office to back office, including revenue management and rental pricing. In the session “Apples to Apples: Getting Clean Consistent Data for Accurate BI” data experts and asset managers discussed evolving corporate best practices in performance data tracking. Starting with clean, reliable data from a single database for one source of truth is essential. Using a system that leverages that data with machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver predictive analytics with recommended actions is keeping leading companies ahead of the curve. And don’t forget about futurecasting. You can get a clear picture of potential future income using reliable operational data. Smart forecasting tools drill down to lease level data and also factor in market conditions and industry dynamics, so you can stay agile and plan for what happens next.   Protect information The...

Access + Affordability Nov15

Access + Affordability

A league of Canada’s brightest minds in real estate are tackling the nation’s hottest topics, including the affordable housing shortage and renters’ growing demands. The 2019 Canadian Apartment Investment Conference (CAIC) united multi-family and multi-residential professionals for a full day of transformative content. More than 1,000 attendees including owners, managers, developers, lenders and industry stakeholders gathered to discuss investment, development and operating opportunities across Canada. Tenant Preference Survey The conference focused on Canada’s strong multi-family market and how to meet tenants’ demands. To understand those demands, Yardi sponsored the 4th Tenant Preference Survey Results. The survey provided an updated perspective on residents’ preferences and the value of certain upgrades. Amy Erixon, head of global investment management at Avison Young-Investments (Canada), Inc. presented an analysis of the survey to the group. While the rental market is still stable, it is taking young renters longer to look for housing that is both affordable and reasonably comfortable. Erixon encouraged attendees to focus on their ILS listings to reach your renters: prospects rely on ILS to discover new housing units, so they see property websites as secondary resource. Unlike US renters, Erixon added, Canadian prospects believe brand and customer reviews are differentiators during the apartment search. Brands with excellent reviews should place their identity towards the forefront of their online marketing, rather than as a note in the margins of their website. Renters’ demands affect property features as well. High mortgage rates prevent many families from achieving homeownership. As a result, most renters want units with two or more bedrooms to accommodate their growing families. Such floorplans are also beneficial for subletting units, a route of supplemental income that makes rental housing more affordable. Erixon explained that apartments with short-term rental provisions are growing in popularity because they allow residents to earn income towards housing whenever they aren’t using the unit. While this option is popular with younger renters, the survey revealed that older renters are uncomfortable with these accommodations. Renters of all ages prefer the support of an onsite property manager and about 30 percent of survey respondents were willing to pay more for this service. The report also revealed the following amenity preferences: In-unit washers and dryers Personal and guest parking (renters are willing to pay extra) Keyless entry (41 percent of respondents are ok accessing their unit via AI technology) Submetering Health-centred programming (desired even if renters don’t intend to use it) The survey helps multi-family firms create accurate benchmarking stats that can guide programming, renovation, new construction, and other investment decisions.  Contact Sara Segal to purchase the full report. Tackling Affordability “By far, the most desirable tenant preference is housing that they can afford,” says John Fox, partner at Robin Appleby LLP. Conference attendees explored new policies and incentive programs designed to aid the expansion and management of affordable housing stock in session “Affordable Housing: A Canadian Wide Challenge to Solve.” Fox was accompanied by Thom Armstrong, executive director, Co-operative Housing Federation of BC; Heather Grey-Wolf, vice president, development, capital developments; and Tsering Yangki, vice president, debt, real estate finance, Dream Unlimited. First, participants tackled the question, “What is affordability?” Ideally, housing offers a range of price brackets that would allow residents to spend one-third or less of their income on housing. But the market is forcing renters to pay more, especially in Vancouver and Toronto. High rents aren’t necessarily the result of price gouging, Fox explained. High construction costs trickled down to residents. To address the challenges of high construction fees and long development processes, Canada launched its first ever National Housing Strategy campaign in 2017 and Ontario launched the supply action plan earlier this year. Informed by years of research, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is using the 2019 budget to fund significant new measures to ensure that all Canadian families can find a quality, affordably priced housing. The Ontario budget expands the Rental Construction Financing...

Multifamily Rolls On Nov12

Multifamily Rolls On

The latest Yardi® Matrix U.S. multifamily market update illustrates good overall performance in the sector, with strong demand, steady new supply and consistent rent growth among the key characteristics. Demand for multifamily housing, driven by rising divorce rates, an aging population, and young people delaying marriage and raising children, figures to remain strong for the foreseeable future. Much of the economic growth powering demand is occurring in Southern and Western regions. Meanwhile, national supply growth can be expected to remain in line with 2018 deliveries for the next few years. The webinar update, conducted by Jeff Adler, Yardi Matrix vice president and general manager, and Jack Kern, director of research and publications, also debuted Yardi Matrix’s structured examination of political risk as an investment factor. The analysis weighs a metro’s affordability, philosophy toward affordability (e.g., rent control, zoning policies, permitting and entitlement requirements), urban policing/security, social mobility, tax burdens and unfunded pension liabilities. In the analysis’ first iteration, San Francisco, Chicago and New York had the highest risk scores among 20 major metros while Salt Lake City, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Indianapolis and Nashville, Tenn., had the lowest. The scorecard is a work in progress, and Adler invited Yardi Matrix users to offer ideas for improving it. “Overall, the sector is performing well, but affordability remains a headwind,” Adler said. Public-sector responses such as rent control and zoning changes have been adopted in Oregon, California and New York City. Such approaches, however, are likely to touch off an exodus of investment capital and create disincentives for new investment, ultimately producing housing shortages. Adler outlined market-based approaches that let supply respond to demand. They include coliving, which minimizes space needs; Airbnb, which monetizes unused time; and modular designs, which lower construction costs. Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Houston and...

World’s Brightest Nov12

World’s Brightest

The world’s largest single-site solar power plant recently commenced operation. It outpaces the leading solar power farm by a hair’s width and leaves America’s largest in the dust. Sweihan Power Plant vs. The World Japan’s Marubeni Corp Sweihan photovoltaic power plant, located in the United Arab Emirates, took two years to complete. The site contains 3.2 million solar panels that produce 1,177 megawatts of energy. For comparison, the largest solar power plant in the United States is Solar Star in California. It has 1.7 million solar panels that produce 579 megawatts of energy. That’s enough to power about 255,000 homes, reports Solstice, the leading solar power provider in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the largest of its time when completed in 2015. Learn how the United States is nearing the end of solar ITC programs. Solar Star is, in fact, not among the largest solar farms in the world. India and China dominate the sun-powered energy. Shakti Sthala, Pavagada, Karnataka of India produces a contested 2,000 megawatts. It is followed by Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park of India which generates 1,000 megawatts. Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China generates 850 megawatts. Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu of India offers 648 megawatts of power to nearby communities. Marubeni Corp, JinkoSolar Holding Co., and Abu Dhabi Power Corp. co-own the $870 million Sweihan solar farm. The project required eight international banks to secure funding. The UAE Energy Plan 2050 The project, also called Noor Abu Dhabi, is part of the UAE’s Energy Plan 2050. Introduced in 2017 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the energy plan is designed to produce renewable, nuclear and clean energy sources. The plan invests $163 billion in pursuit of a more sustainable and diverse energy supply including “44 percent clean energy, 38 percent...

Driving Adoption Nov12

Driving Adoption

For senior living providers, collecting payments online reduces staff workload and increases cash flow. For senior living residents and their family members, it saves time and eliminates hassle. A win-win all around. So why is it then that so few residents pay online? At Validus Senior Living, the finance team understood the value of online payments, and they knew residents and their loved ones would appreciate the convenience once they got on board. They just needed a push in the right direction first. Validus Senior Living offers residences across the spectrum of care: independent living, assisted living and memory care. They have 15 current communities throughout the Southeast, and they plan on developing two to three new properties per year. Getting their residents to pay online would streamline finances as the organization continued to grow. Validus finance staff had already offered ACH as a payment option, but adoption was low. To top it off, staff had to enter a resident or family member’s bank details manually to get them in the system, which took extra time and risked errors. So Validus turned to RENTCafé Senior Living for self-service online payments and launched a variety of initiatives to make it the popular choice for bill pay. The results were clear: They achieved an average 60% adoption rate for online payments across their communities! How’d they pull it off? Here’s what Lindsey Hacker, chief financial officer at Validus, revealed: Offer a discount to current residents Old habits are hard to change, but a simple incentive can work wonders as motivation. Validus ran a promotion for existing residents, asking them to sign up for online payments. In turn, they would get a discount on their bill. Though incentives like these may seem unaffordable for senior living providers,...

Coliving is Here Nov11

Coliving is Here

You’ve heard about coworking, but how about coliving? Now is the time to learn more about this urban rental trend that’s gaining momentum with young renters across the country, including millennials looking to save money by sharing amenities. Not sure how this trend applies to your business? If you’re a multifamily property manager, you’ll want to keep reading. As the market appears to be headed for a downturn in the near future, flexible leasing strategies could be your best bet to recession-proof your properties and maximize rental revenue. What is coliving? Currently, coliving is mostly an urban trend with residents sharing a house, apartment or building. If you’re thinking of the kind of roommate arrangement that is the result of random pairings through online postings, think again. Today’s coliving spaces offer modernized community experiences — sometimes referred to as “intentional communities” — and often include options for more privacy and luxury, such as microsuites. Residents will usually have a private bedroom and sometimes a private bathroom. Shared spaces typically include kitchens, lounges, laundry rooms, gyms and rooftop areas for social gatherings. And while the experience is not too foreign for renters who’ve shared housing before, coliving spaces are usually cheaper than traditional rentals. For most coliving enthusiasts, the social connection is important — they don’t want to feel like they’re living in a hotel. The essence of coliving is bringing compatible renters together in one space, with an emphasis on the quality of relationships and experiences over the quantity of square footage. For single renters new to an area, coliving can provide a sense of community as they get to know their greater surroundings. For cash-strapped renters looking for great amenities or seriously swanky accommodations, coliving is the answer. And for the many young...

System Thinking Nov09

System Thinking

What role does your organization play in the future of smart buildings and smart cities? How can you tap into the benefits today? Commercial property professionals tackled those questions and more at the 2019 Real Trends Conference. In the commercial real estate trends discussion “Co-chair Insights: Politics, Demographics, and Technology” Amy Erixon, head of global investment management at Avison Young-Investments Canada, was joined by Sheila Botting, senior partner & Canadian real estate leader at Deloitte. They posited government-owned territories and creative commercial assets can bolster the nation into a prosperous future. The available land is the ideal foundation for smart infrastructure and smart buildings. Thoughtful commercial spaces upon that land lends itself to creating buildings that are flexible and scalable.  The “2019 Office Tenant Preference Survey Presentation” and “Smart Cities and Smart Buildings” sessions explored how space is a canvas for economic success. 2019 Office Tenant Preference Survey Presentation Heather Brady, national director of sales for Yardi Canada, lead the session on the first office tenant preference survey sponsored by Yardi. This year will serve as a benchmark to more robust and relevant data gathered in the future. Survey responses can help owners make more informed and proactive decisions about land use as well as space use within their structures. Most Requested Features in Commercial Spaces Survey participants expressed high demand for the following: elevators WI-FI natural light conference rooms within the office space parking lots ability to receive packages during work hours exterior green space energy efficient lighting The survey also explored how telecommuting influences the way that tenants request and use space. Currently, 51 percent of tenants’ employees can work from home but only 3 percent do so full time. This reflects the growing inclination towards more flexible workspaces. As the telecommuting...

Shared Space Moving Up

The coworking industry is growing rapidly, encompassing 93.2 million square feet in the top 50 U.S. office markets and making inroads in suburban spaces as well. A new special report from Yardi Matrix portrays a practice that thrives in cities with large technology sectors and in markets with office vacancy rates significantly below the 13.5% national average, including Manhattan, N.Y., San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. Areas with vacancy rates in the high teens, among them Houston and Dallas, have much less coworking space as a percentage of total stock. While 47% of coworking space is concentrated in just six traditional primary commercial real estate markets—New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston and San Francisco—“we expect that coworking will rise in suburban office markets” as the industry matures, the report says. These areas tend to draw clients from home-based workers who want an office for work and socializing purposes and from large corporations that establish small satellite offices. While highly visible turmoil surrounding industry leader WeWork fosters the impression that the entire business model is at risk, “most signs point to coworking as a growth industry that remains in the early stages of development,” the report says. New business models, such as establishing coworking properties in shopping malls and other non-traditional settings, are emerging as well. Get up to speed on all of this dynamic segment’s moving parts, prospects for further growth and risk factors in the new Yardi Matrix special report,  “Shared Space: Coworking’s Rapid Growth Set to be...

Coolest Suburbs Nov07

Coolest Suburbs

ApartmentTherapy recently released its 2019 Coolest Suburbs in America list! If your city is on the list, there are several ways to make the ranking work for your community. This is free marketing made easy! The List Creating the list was a collaboration between Apartment Therapy, Google, Etsy, and a hodgepodge of other entities needed to determine “what’s a suburb” and “what’s cool?” In short, Apartment Therapy looked for towns near major cities where “it didn’t feel like you’d be making a ton of sacrifices by moving out of the city.” Nearly 25 cities made the list, but these shining stars earned superlatives. Reader’s Choice- Oak Park, Illinois Most Popular- Arlington, Texas Most Walkable- Hoboken, New Jersey Best for Crafters- Naperville, Illinois Best for Bikers- Carmel, Indiana Best for Hikers- Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio These cities appeal to what modern renters want: convenience, space, and plenty to do in the area. Reaping the Benefits If your town is on this list, your location is a fantastic selling feature for your community! The economic growth, cost of living, and quality of life in your area hold quantifiable value. Using revenue management software can ensure that you’re getting the best rent rate for your location. It can also address metrics like concessions and other factors to help you increase rental income by an average of 6 percent. With the financial aspect set, you’re ready to welcome new prospects with confidence.  Research by G2 reveals the impact of reviews on how products sell. When your town ranks well on a list by a popular website like Apartment Therapy, organic traffic to sites about your town increases! Ensure that you are taking advantage of the suddenly popularity with an expert SEO and SEM strategy. Additional real estate marketing tools can...

Market Trends Nov06

Market Trends

Have you found it easier to move those three-bedroom units than before? For decades, larger units were tougher to rent. That narrative has changed in the recent years. New data projects the trend is likely to continue—and 3.6 million families may enter the rental market. Single-family rentals have experienced an ascent in popularity. The demand has encouraged the construction of 3.6 million units in the past decade. Yardi Matrix, an apartment intelligence provider, reports that 52 percent of the apartments built between 2006 and 2016 have at least two bedrooms. Of those, 41 percent are 2-bedroom units, 9 percent have three bedrooms and 2 percent have at least 4 bedrooms. Fewer families with young children can buy a home. As a result, families are making their mark on multifamily development by driving the demand for larger units and plenty of them. The Backstory The housing crisis was more than a decade ago, but the aftermath lingers. Greater restrictions on lending led to higher home prices and a grinding halt in new home construction. At the depth of the recession, home prices dropped–right along with job security–leaving fewer opportunities for families to confidently invest in a house. With fewer entry-level homes to meet their needs, young couples and families turned their eyes towards renting. Families with young children who own a home dropped by 3.6 million from 2006-2016 (the most recent U.S. Census). As the economy recovered, home prices surged disproportionately to salaries and rent rates. National real estate brokerage Redfin suggests that the median price of a single-family home increased by 35 percent in the past 5 years. That’s 75 percent faster than rent increases which rose by only 20 percent, reports Yardi Matrix. For context, when adjusted for inflation, workers’ wages only grew...