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5 Trends in Baltimore Multifamily and Affordable Housing

Baltimore is the nation's eighth-largest multifamily housing market in terms of absorption rate, and it's getting more than 3,000 apartment units in downtown alone. Speakers at Bisnow’s 5th Annual Baltimore Multifamily panel last week offered five trends affecting Baltimore’s multifamily and affordable housing markets. Read one each day of the week! (Or all of them now. That probably makes the most sense.)

1. Living Single and Car-free


In Baltimore City, nearly 40% of all households consist of just one person, says Delta Associates SVP Will Rich. As a result, the average apartment unit size of a nearly delivered unit dropped 8% in downtown Baltimore between 2000 and 2015. Millennials are driving most of the demand for multifamily housing, yet nearly one in five of the younger set (ages 20 to 24) don’t have a driver’s license. That means having a skee-ball table might lure more tenants than a garage.

2. More Amenities and Common Spaces


And speaking of skee-ball, Time Group CEO and WPM Real Estate Management chairman Mark Caplan says that’s coming to 520 Park Ave. The new Mount Vernon apartment building also boasts solar roof panels, a dog-wash station, a fireplace and a rooftop pool. While units are getting smaller, developers are enhancing common space areas by adding more amenities, Mark says. He's pictured second to the right, next to Walker & Dunlop managing director Dee McClure. On the far left is moderator Continental Title Group CEO William Yerman.

3. Apartments Not Leasing at Lightning Speed


While Baltimore’s multifamily housing market remains strong, its rate of growth is slowing down, panelists said. It took PMC Property Group five months to lease nearly 100 units at 301 N Charles St last year, CEO Steven Bloom says. Leasing the next office-to-apartment conversion a year later, at 26 S Calvert St, proved to be more challenging, Steven says. The company is now planning 140 units in the Appraisers’ Stores building at 103 S Gay St and another 260 units at the former headquarters of OneMain Financial at 300 St. Paul Place.

4. Baltimore Gets RAD


Rental assistance demonstration (RAD) is a new HUD program that allows a developer to bring in private capital sources to rehab affordable housing projects. That allows for more resources for affordable housing in the city, says Enterprise Homes EVP Christine Madigan. The Housing Authority of Baltimore City is converting 22 properties through RAD. Enterprise Homes just closed on a $27M RAD project for seniors and non-elderly disabled, The Allendale, in Edmonson Village.

5. Creative Financing


As federal resources have dwindled, affordable housing developers have gotten more creative in terms of financing, says AHC Greater Baltimore developer Andrew Vincent. AHC, along with 11 other nonprofits, launched a social enterprise REIT in 2013 called The Housing Partnership Equity Trust, which is expected to invest more than $200M by the end of this year.