6A — May 15 - 28, 2020 — Multifamily Development — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal
M ultifamily D evelopment
Ken Uranowitz of Gebroe-Hammer Associates addresses Multifamily in COVID-19: CRE’s most resilient asset type remains a sound investment
garding the short - and l o n g - t e rm “COVID-19 Ef f e c t ” on multifamily pr ope r t i e s a n d c o m - mercial real estate as a W
hile some are look- ing to a crystal ball f or answers re -
This is because in today’s environment, apartment build- ings are functioning as a sanc-
long-term appeal across every tenant-demographic cohort. As with most times of uncer- tainty, tremendous patience and watchful waiting are the best antidote. Of this I am certain after 45 years in the multifamily investment bro- kerage profession and weath- ering economic protractions in virtually every decade. Based on personal experience and the history books, it is completely premature to begin trying to pinpoint the exact how and when of an economic recali- bration. Despite these ambiguities,
there is something of which we can be assured: multifam- ily will keep demonstrating its buoyancy, especially in those submarkets and metros that have historically trended with stability. The inner resiliency of apart- ment properties will win out across the board. Such was the case in the aftermath of the stock market crash of Oc- tober of 1987 known as Black Monday, the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s/early 2000s, the sudden attacks of 9/11 and the height of the Great Re- cession in early 2009. Apart- ment properties have always bounced back faster, stronger and in much better shape than office, retail, industrial and hospitality. Always. In addition to its long-term investment and performance appeal, multifamily will re- tain its front-runner position as the preferred housing option for the foreseeable future. The pandemic’s eco- nomic impact will only add to a renter-population base that was already eschewing single-family homeowner- ship. As a result, the tenant pipeline will be fed across all tiers, from class A to B/C assets as well as urban high rises and suburban garden complexes. Interestingly, new tenant needs are being born out of this pandemic. Owners and property managers are rising to the occasion with nimble solutions and investors are considering pandemic-related retrofits to future value-add capital-improvement check- lists. While we often rely on les- sons learned from the past to navigate the future, CO- VID-19 has thrust the world as we know it into a new dimension. With so many questions yet to be answered, one need not have a crystal ball to determine the fate of multifamily investment prop- erties. Regardless of public health issues, the state of the economy, the manner in which we engage with others and the places fromwhich we work or receive an education, apartments are unwavering in their tenacity. This is at- tributable to one basic prem- ise: they offer shelter. And a place to call home. Ken Uranowitz is presi- dent of Gebroe-Hammer Associates.
As a society and as an in- dustry, we find ourselves in unchartered territory. Under-
"Multifamily will keep demonstrating its buoyancy, especially in those submarkets and metros that have historically trended with stability."
tuary for normalcy. A safe haven, they also are command central for telecommuting (for those who have that option) and/or remote learning for students of all ages, from kin- dergarten through college. In turn, they are fortifying their
standably, such conditions are breeding unease. However, as in the past, adaptation is setting the stage for what multifamily properties do best – rebound faster than any other commercial real estate property category.
whole, the best – and really only – option for those who own, manage, invest in and reside in apartments is to remain agile.
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